Kayne Griffin is pleased to present an exhibition of work by Louise Nevelson (1899-1988) titled Collages 1957 – 1982. This exhibition, Nevelson’s first at Kayne Griffin, presents a selection of her collage works, an integral yet rarely shown component of her practice. Nevelson, an artist known for her monochrome, found-object sculptures, also created smaller scale collage works. These collages provide an in-depth look into her methodology, study, and practice.
The selection of nine collages in this exhibition highlights her initial experimentation with the medium in the late-1950s as well as the continuation and development of the practice through the later years of her life.
The early collages exemplify Nevelson’s use of found objects. The artist would walk around her studio neighborhood in New York and collect fragments of objects she found on the street. In four of the earliest works, on view from the years 1957 – 1959, Nevelson uses a combination of cardboard, paint, wire, foil, newspaper, and wood. By reclaiming these materials, Nevelson wanted to bring the discarded back to life and repurpose it within a new environment. She became known for developing a practice using mostly muted and monochrome palettes in her sculptural works which she would paint black, white, or gold to create a sense of continuity among the array of assembled elements. However, in her collage works, Nevelson focuses and often centers within her compositions colored objects, such as the bright orange found in Untitled (1959). This draws the viewers eye deeper into the work , creating an effect of surface tension similar to low-relief sculpture.
Her collages from the 1960s and 1970s take on a more minimal and reductive approach. Nevelson converges the found materials to a focal point skewed off-center, layering shapes and scraps in decreasing sizes and form. Untitled (1982), breaks away from the warm tones and monochromatic materiality and introduces an ornate assemblage of patterned fabrics and objects that are interwoven together. They remain flatter and closer to the background black surface, a contrast to the dimension given to her 1960s and 1970s collages. These collages highlight her innovative use of everyday objects . As Nevelson explains, “I always wanted to show the world that art is everywhere, except it has to pass through a creative mind. My world is the world of reality; my world is the world of creation, that is the world of reality.”
Louise Nevelson (b. 1899, Kiev; d. 1988, New York) has been the subject of one-artist exhibitions at numerous institutions including The Jewish Museum, New York (1965, 2007); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1967, 1970, 1980, 1987, 1998); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (1973); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1973); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1986); Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome (1994); Centre national d’art et de culture Georges Pompidou, Paris (1997); Fondazione Roma Museo (2013). She represented the United States at the Venice Biennale in 1962, and her work was again included in the Biennale in 1976. Nevelson’s art has also been featured in prominent group exhibitions including Sixteen Americans, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1959–60); The Art of Assemblage, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1961); and Documenta (1964, 1968). Today her work is held in over ninety public collections worldwide including many of the most prominent museums worldwide.