Lee Bontecou. Untitled. 1959

Lee Bontecou Untitled 1959

  • MoMA, Floor 5, 516

Made in 1959, the year Bontecou created her first wall-mounted steel-and-canvas sculptures, this work incorporates soiled canvas taken from conveyor belts discarded by a laundry below the artist's East Village apartment. She stretched pieces of the fabric across sections of steel armature and fastened them to the metal with wire, creating a surface resembling something between a stained glass window and a patchwork quilt. While her early reliefs conjure a wide range of associations, this particular one resembles, among other things, an aerial view of an otherworldly landscape. Sputnik, the first man-made satellite, had recently orbited the earth, launching the Space Age. As Bontecou later recalled of this time, "I had a joy and excitement about outer space—nothing was known about the black holes—just huge, intangible, dangerous entities, and I felt great excitement when little Sputnik flew."

Gallery label from Lee Bontecou: All Freedom in Every Sense, April 21–August 30, 2010 .
Medium
Welded steel, canvas, black fabric, soot, and wire
Dimensions
58 1/8 x 58 1/2 x 17 3/8" (147.5 x 148.5 x 44 cm)
Credit
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Arnold H. Maremont
Object number
2.1960
Copyright
© 2020 Lee Bontecou
Department
Painting and Sculpture

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