Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction

Venturi and Rauch, Robert Venturi, John Rauch. City Hall, project, North Canton, Ohio, Perspective sketch. 1965 0496

Graphite on tracing paper, 20 1/2 x 36" (52.1 x 91.4 cm). Gift of Venturi, Rauch and Scott Brown, Inc. © 2021 Robert Venturi

Alexandra Schwartz: Alina Szapocznikow was one of the most important Polish artists of her generation, and of the post-war period. She had quite a traumatic childhood. She grew up in Jewish ghettos in Poland and then was an Auschwitz survivor.

She is concerned in her work with the body. In her sculpture, she often made casts from her own body and from the bodies of others. She deals with biological and carnal themes. She's often talked about as melding a kind of dark surrealism, with humor, a certain kind of irony.

Belly-Cushions, from 1968, were cast from a female body. And if you look at it, you can kind of see the folds in a woman's stomach, even though at the same time it's this very abstract form. So she's taking the body, a very familiar form, and making it new, making it strange and disorienting by casting it in these new materials and in different colors.

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