Hanging Column (from Dawn's Wedding Feast)

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Hanging Column (from Dawn's Wedding Feast)

Louise Nevelson. Hanging Column (from Dawn's Wedding Feast). 1959. Painted wood, 6' x 10 1/8" x 10 1/8" (182.8 x 25.7 x 25.7 cm). Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Fund. © 2014 Estate of Louise Nevelson / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Audio Program excerpt

Mind and Matter: Alternative Abstractions, 1940 to Now

May 5–August 16, 2010

Director, Glenn Lowry: Louise Nevelson was born in 1899 in the Ukraine. Her family moved to Maine when she was a child.

Curator, Alexandra Schwartz: And her family were lumber dealers. And she tended to work in sculpture with found wood, and objects. The two Hanging Columns were part of a very large-scale suite of works that she made in 1959, and they were called Dawn's Wedding Feast. She, herself, had a very ambivalent attitude towards marriage. She had left her marriage quite early. She saw it as a trap, as confining, and very unromantic. But she did take marriage and weddings as her theme here.

So she saw the four main wall sculptures as four wedding chapels. And then she made a wedding cake, a wedding chest. She had a wedding mirror and pillow as part of that trousseau. And then she made guests in the forms of hanging columns. So what we see here are two of those people involved in the ceremony.

It was really ahead of its time. Now you see so many artists who are doing installation pieces. But she was really one of the first, and it was this kind of total environment that she created.