Black Excursion No. 13
March 28, 2009
Nevelson took found objects, such as discarded pieces of architectural ornamentation (doorknobs and banisters were often used), and shapes she cut from scrap wood and carefully arranged them into interesting patterns in packing crates, which she then spray-painted one “cleansing” color to unify the composite parts. Everything but the paint was salvaged from the streets near her Greenwich Village home. The individual boxes were then assembled into monumental “walls” and room-sized environments (one critic likened their spatial logic to Madison Avenue window displays, which also feature three-dimensional objects in a tightly delineated frontal position). Black Excursion No. 13 is a more intimately scaled, cabinet-sized work and is a fine example of how Nevelson created texture and rhythm by repeating and balancing shapes.
Although she had been a practicing artist since the 1920s, it was not until the late 1950s that Louise Nevelson came into prominence; in this period her distinctive manner of working was more in tune with the New York vanguard art scene, in which collage and assemblage were playing an increasingly important role.
Assembled from found pieces of wood and formica, the objects that make up the piece resonate between being subsumed into the purely abstract form and reminding the viewer of their one-time life as daily objects.
Square, rectangular, and circular pieces of wood and formica are assembled in rectilinear, cabinet-like compartments. The entire object is painted black.
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