The Louise Blouin Foundation
will present, in partnership with PaceWildenstein, the first major London exhibition of works by the sculptor Lousie Nevelson in nearly four decades. The exhibition, opening 30 April, will feature a collection of works highlighting the career of one of the most innovative and influential sculptors from the Post War period in America bringing together some of the most monumental and seminal examples of Louise Nevelsons art from the 1950s to the 1980s. Louise Nevelson: Dawns and Dusks will be on view at Louise Blouin Foundation, 3 Olaf Street Notting Hill, from 30 April through to 14 June 2009. An opening reception will be held on Wednesday, 29 April from 6 to 9 pm.
Louise Nevelson continuously investigated the space between form and illusion, the space between painting and sculpture and between solid and void. I always wanted to show the world that art is everywhere, Louise Nevelson insisted, except it has to pass through a creative mind. Nevelson pioneered installation art in America with her assemblage environments of the 1950s. She collected detritus from a variety of urban sources including street-discarded furniture, scraps of wood, refuse from factories, hat forms, patterns and moulds. She then gave the elements a new identity by cleansing them with a solid colour: traditionally white, gold or black. These elements were then composed in boxes, sometimes constructed but more often found or reclaimed objects. She would spend weeks or even years rediscovering and rearranging the boxes, reinventing these collections of identifiable materials laden with meaning into formalist constructions that subverted the original associations of found objects. The final state of completion would be a compound structure in the form of a wall that existed between form and shadow, between painting and sculpture.
With works never exhibited before, the exhibition includes large-scale painted black monochrome wood wall relief and free-standing sculptures ranging in size up to nearly 10 feet by 12 feet, and mixed-media collages on paper and board, which incorporate materials such as wood, paper, newsprint, paint, vinyl, metal, and other found objects.
[T]he work that I do is not the matter and it isnt the colour, Nevelson once said, It adds up to the in-between place, between the material I use and the manifestation afterwards; the dawns and the dusks, the places between the land and the sea. The place of in-between means that all of this that I useand you can put a label on it like blackis something Im using to say something else.
Nevelson considered herself a formalist whose work was part of the Abstract Expressionist movement in which Rothko, Reinhardt and de Kooning were her closest friends. In the last decades of the 20th century, such formalism fell out of favour and Nevelsons popularity was eclipsed by art forms laden with identity and symbolism. In the 21st century, the importance and powerful influence of Nevelsons art is being reappraised. The works presented in Dawns and Dusks have been selected to highlight Nevelsons remarkable and prolific career and serve to address and underpin this reappraisal of one of the most prolific and influential sculptors in American art.
I am delighted that PaceWildenstein will be collaborating with us on this important exhibition that will bring a major retrospective of Louise Nevelsons artwork to London for the first time, said Ms Louise Blouin, Founder and Chairman, Louise Blouin Foundation. Nevelson firmly believed in the spiritual life a collection of objects took on when brought together; a life that surpassed the sum of its parts. I believe this is a valuable metaphor for creativity: whether in our lives or disciplines. Creativity not only allows us to discover our potential, positively impacting our brains, it spurs new dialogue and understanding between cultures and beyond borders she added.
About the Artist - Louise Nevelson (18991988) was born Louise Berliawsky in Kiev, Russia and emigrated to Rockland, Maine at the age of six. Following her marriage in 1920, Nevelson moved to New York City where she later studied at the Art Students League (1929-30) with Kenneth Hayes Miller and Hans Hoffman (whom she also briefly studied with in Munich in 1932). Nevelson worked as an assistant to Diego Rivera prior to participating in her first group exhibition, organized by the Secession Gallery, at the Brooklyn Museum in 1935. Nevelson taught art at the Education Alliance School of Art (NY) as a part of the Works Progress Administration. She received her first solo exhibition at the prestigious Nierendorf Gallery in New York City in 1941, and since that time, her work has been the subject of nearly 260 solo exhibitions worldwide. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Nevelson worked at the Sculpture Center (NY) and at Atelier 17. The artist produced her first series of black wood landscape sculptures during the mid- 50s. Shortly after, three major New York City museums would acquire Nevelsons work over the course of three successive years: the Whitney Museum of American Art (1956); The Brooklyn Museum (1957); and The Museum of Modern Art (1958). Nevelson began showing regularly at the Pace Gallery in 1964. The Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY) organized Nevelsons first major retrospective in 1967. During the 1970s and early 1980s, Nevelson was occupied with numerous public commissions and the production of large-scale sculpture and monumental environments, often using Cor-Ten steel.
In 2007, The Jewish Museum, New York mounted a major retrospective of Nevelsons work. The Sculpture of Louise Nevelson, on view from May 5 through September 16, included self-portraits from the 1940s through the 1960s, rarely displayed examples of the artist's works on paper dating from the 1920s to the 1980s, and two monumental, room-sized installations: Dawn's Wedding Feast (1959) and Mrs. N's Palace (1964-77). The exhibition also included a video which examined Nevelson's public art projects within the context of her oeuvre as well as her influence on contemporary artists. The sixty-six works in the exhibition were drawn from international private and public collections. The show travelled to the de Young Museum, San Francisco from October 27, 2007January 13, 2008.
Nevelson represented the United States at the Venice Biennale in 1962, where she would also exhibit work in 1976. Other significant group shows have included the Pittsburgh International Exhibition at the Carnegie Institute (1958, 1961, 1964, 1970); Expo 70 in Osaka, Japan; Documenta III and IV, Kassel (1964, 1968); the 1973 Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art; and the Spoleto Festival (1982, 1983).