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Vertical Zag I, 1969

Louise Nevelson

American, 1899-1988
Painted wood and Formica
80 x 29-3/8 x 4 in. (203.2 x 74.6 x 10.2 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of the Artist
© 2013 Estate of Louise Nevelson / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Reproduction, including downloading of ARS works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Not on view

In the middle of the 20th century, sculpture not only began to engage with the space around and through it but also began to actively transform space. Louise Nevelson pushed these boundaries explicitly, particularly in her later work. Her wooden constructions approach the viewer, quite literally, by using projections of painted wood and a play of light and shadow. With their cylinders, their cubes and a geometry that is never intended to be sparse or cold, Nevelson’s painted wood assemblages, such as Vertical Zag I, convey the more whimsical side of the meeting of architecture and sculpture. Placed on the floor or on the wall, her separate pieces have also been joined together to create her later, room-sized environments. In these spaces, sculpture covers the walls and floors, transforming the actual space of the room into a completely alternate reality.

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