Sol LeWitt: Structures 1965–2006

This book, based on a posthumous exhibition presented by the Public Art Fund in New York City, surveys the three-dimensional work of Sol LeWitt, better known for Conceptual works and wall paintings. There are essays by the primary contributor, Nicholas Baume, as well as Jonathan Flatley, Rachel Haidu Anna Lovatt, Joe Madura, and Kirsten Swenson, as well as an interview that Baume conducted with the artist in 2000.

Continue reading

Martin Puryear

Simply put, Martin Puryear is a high-quality art historical review of the artist’s 30-year career. This extensive catalog has a significant image collection and informative scholarly texts, is well designed, and is expertly printed by the Museum of Modern Art on the occasion of Puryear’s retrospective exhibition at MoMA in 2007. The artist’s expert treatment of wood, a trait noteworthy throughout his career, is here evident. The diversity of construction, tone, texture, structure, personality, surface, and overall effect he gives to the wood medium are astounding. Although some of Puryear’s works are likened to Minimalism or Post-Minimalism, the artist’s wide range of styles and forms are evidenced. Each sculpture in the book (as well as some early woodcuts by the artist) is distinct, new, and refreshing, and helps to make this book utterly entrancing.

Continue reading

Erwin Wurm: Wear Me Out

It is a rare trait for an artwork to create an atmosphere of both whimsy and profound contemplation. Yet Austrian artist Erwin Wurm’s work does just that, moving beyond generally accepted notions of “sculpture” and into what he calls “explorations of the potential of sculpture.” For instance, the One Minute Sculptures, Wurm’s best-known works, consist of people posing in odd or unusual positions (or just generally looking strange and awkward) and holding those poses for a minute, before returning to their normal routines. Some of the most famous of these mini-performance works involve sticking office supplies in a person’s nose, mouth, and ears, sitting perched atop a pole in the corner of an art gallery, and laying on top of someone on a sidewalk.

Continue reading

Maya Lin: A Biography

Aimed generally at a high school audience, Greenwood Biographies cover a wide variety of famous figures, including Mother Theresa, Prince William, Stephen Hawking, Yo-Yo Ma, Osama bin Laden, and Paris Hilton. Needless to say, some subjects are more deserving of biographical recognition than others. Of the more than 100 published biographies, four are of visual artists: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Maya Lin.

Continue reading

The Toaster Project or A Heroic Attempt to Build a Simple Electric Appliance from Scratch

As I type on this keyboard, I am both amazed and dumbfounded by its inner mechanism. I use it every day yet have no idea how it works. Even if I were to take it apart, it still would not make any sense to me. We’ve reached the point where technology has exceeded the comprehension of probably about 99 percent of users. And it’s not just computers. Even the simplest of electrical appliances—say, a toaster—is apparently so difficult to fathom that it took British artist Thomas Thwaites nine months, 1,900 miles of travel, and £1,187.54 to make one “from scratch.”

Continue reading

The Art of Invention: Sculpture by Daniel A. Henderson

First an inventor and entrepreneur, Daniel A. Henderson has in the last four years produced a portfolio of contemporary sculpture.  His multi-ton marble sculptures depict technological advances through the ages. In doing so, Henderson explores technology’s impact on humanity. Henderson says, “Invention, like sculpture, is an artistic endeavor. Although the two disciplines utilize different mediums of expression, both share the ability to affect our perception and how we interact.”

Continue reading