Featuring three sculptures and more than a dozen works on paper by American artist Lee Bontecou (b. 1931), this intimate installation spans four decades of the artist’s career, from 1958 to 1998. Known for richly evocative forms that conjure biological, geological, and technological motifs, Bontecou has described “the natural world and its wonders and horrors” as a central preoccupation of her career. Among the earliest works presented are large drawings made of velvety soot and wall-mounted sculptures composed of salvaged canvas stitched to elaborate welded steel armatures. The centerpiece of the installation—on view in this building for the first time—is a recently acquired suspended sculpture that was one of the highlights of the artist’s 2004 retrospective at MoMA QNS. This large untitled mobile is composed of sections of translucent wire mesh and small porcelain orbs attached to an intricate network of wire that radiate from a central blue porcelain sphere. Made over an eighteen-year period from 1980 to 1998, it presents a galaxy of forms and represents a fulfillment of Bontecou’s longstanding desire to create art that encompasses “as much of life as possible—no barriers—no boundaries—all freedom in every sense.”
Organized by Veronica Roberts, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture. This exhibition is made possible by BNP Paribas and is presented in conjunction with MoMA’s publication of Modern Women: Women Artists at The Museum of Modern Art (June 2010).