Barnett Newman Broken Obelisk 1963-69

  • Not on view

Barnett Newman’s Broken Obelisk, made of Cor-Ten steel, stands more than 25 feet tall and weighs 6,000 pounds. An inverted obelisk—a four-sided tapering monument from Ancient Egypt—balances precariously atop a pyramid, another Egyptian form. The sculpture was not designed for a particular site, and it commemorates no specific person or moment in history. Some interpret Broken Obelisk as a universal monument to all humanity. However, the severed, upended form could also suggest that there is nothing to celebrate—perhaps an allusion to the social unrest of the Civil Rights Movement and Vietnam War protests occurring in the United States in the 1960s.

Medium
Cor-Ten steel
Dimensions
24' 7 1/4" x 10' 5 1/2" x 10' 5 1/2" (749.9 x 318.8 x 318.8 cm)
Credit
Given anonymously
Object number
526.1971
Copyright
© 2024 Barnett Newman Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Department
Painting and Sculpture

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