“Louise Nevelson: Black” opens today!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013
“Louise Nevelson: Black” opens today!

“Louise Nevelson: Black” opens today in the Joan Levine Freedman ’57 and Richard I. Freedman Gallery.   On view through June 9.

Installed in the Davis’s “black-box” gallery, this exhibition offers a rare opportunity to consider the work of Louise Nevelson (1900 – 1988) in the lighting she preferred. For Nevelson, whose complex strategies in monochrome assemblage—in black, white, and gold—became legendary, black was particularly significant: it “symbolized harmony and continuity.” Moreover, her long-time representative, Arne Glimcher of Pace Gallery, notes that the artist “used to install all of her works in very dark spaces. For her first shows of environments in the fifties…she painted the entire place black and she had almost no light in there. So your perception had to become hyper-active because of the light-deprivation.”

Recapturing something of the mood of Nevelson’s early installations, this presentation includes work ranging in date from 1953 to 1973. According to curator Lisa Fischman, Ruth Gordon Shapiro ‘37 Director of the Davis, “The selection contrasts the materiality and structural formality of Nevelson’s sculptures with the gestural concentration of her prints, and suggests a persistent interest in the body as architectural form and inspiration. The sculptures feature familiar elements: reclaimed wood scraps assembled to evoke at once the hand-tooled and the machine-made. All of the works play in the realm of shadows, articulating jutting surfaces and crevassed interiors with light, variably reflected and absorbed.

Fischman continues, “The squint, the sharpened focus, and the subtle forward lean that perceiving Nevelson’s black works requires of us is exacerbated in the low light, engendering perceptual shifts that engage the senses differently. The act of viewing becomes intensely, unusually embodied.”

Louise Nevelson, Luminous Zag, 1971 Painted wood overall: 96 in. x 76 in. x 10 in. (243.8 cm x 193 cm x 25.4 cm); base: 18 in. (45.7 cm) Gift of Milly and Arne Glimcher (Mildred L. Cooper, Class of 1961) in honor of Louise Nevelson 1986.2

Louise Nevelson: Black is generously supported by the Davis Museum Program Endowed Fund.