Victor M. Cassidy, who is a frequent contributor to Sculpture magazine, recently published a valuable series of interviews with working sculptors. The book’s subtitle aptly captures the focus of the book: conversations with working artists about their process (rather than market trends, theory, critics, lifestyle, or money).
It’s an impressive group of artists: from Chakaia Booker to Janet Echelman, Kenneth Snelson to the late Dennis Oppenheim, Lynda Benglis to Mary Miss, Willie Cole to Jene Highstein. A good number of the artists have, like the interviewer, a connection to Chicago (whether still living there or not): John Henry, Terrence Karpowicz, Anne Wilson, and others), and several (including John Henry and Chakaia Booker, as well as Jesus Moroles and Bruce Beasley) are present or former Board members of the ISC.
Cassidy set out to create this book from scratch, rather than reprinting already published interviews, and he selected artists from across the U.S. who can speak about the process of creation in lively ways.. He divides the book into 7 sections (though there’s considerable overlap in the interests of the artists across these sections): Monumental Sculptors, Indoor Sculptors, Exploring Materials, The Landscape, Clay, Community and Place, and The Last Word. Each artist is introduced by a few helpful paragraphs putting the work into context and setting up the discussion. There are also numerous black and white illustrations of the artists’ work, in addition to the small section of color photos in the middle of the book.
The focus on artists working today, and on a broad range of the many types and styles of sculpture today, gives the book a compelling presence among the books on the field. Sculptors at Work is a valuable addition to the dialogue on contemporary sculpture and is a substantial contribution to the understanding of the processes, conditions, and perspectives of contemporary sculptors.
Sculptors at Work: Interviews about the Creative Process
by Victor M. Cassidy
Jefferson NC: McFarland & Company, 2011
220 pages, 15 color illustrations, $40