Collection 1950s–1970s

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_Sky Cathedral_

Louise Nevelson. Sky Cathedral. 1958 407

Painted wood, 11' 3 1/2" x 10' 1/4" x 18" (343.9 x 305.4 x 45.7 cm). Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Ben Mildwoff. © 2018 Estate of Louise Nevelson / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Director, Glenn Lowry: Though she grew up in a family of lumber dealers, it took several decades of working as an artist for Nevelson to settle on wood as her medium of choice. Sky Cathedral was the first of her wood constructions to gain notice. Here’s the artist speaking in 1964.

Artist, Louise Nevelson: I found lumber on the street that had nails in it and some nail holes in it. And different forms and different shapes. And I just nailed them together and I knew that this was art. And I began to learn more about the technique, learn more about the forms, and went right on.

Curator, Ann Temkin: This sculpture has almost 60 compartments in it, each of which combine and contain different pieces of wood. All of it is painted black, creating what has often been called a wall of sculpture. You somehow have to enter into the space that’s been created. And you have to find your place and your psyche within that new context.

Louise Nevelson: It’s like a marriage. You are not the total actor. You play with another actor. And my play with the others are my materials. So there’s a constant communication, for a oneness, for that unity, for the harmony, and for the totality.

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