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Louise Nevelson

Sky Cathedral


Louise Nevelson
Kiev 1899 – New York 1988


Sky Cathedral




Painted wood


241.4 x 199.8 x 40.7 cm


Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest, inv. 1977.42


Western Art

This sculpture speaks to the power of transformation: cast-off fragments of fabricated wooden objects were first collected, then selected, spray-painted black, assembled, nailed together and stacked. The resulting layered and seemingly impenetrable surfaces cast shadows across the field of its broad expanse. Although it has ample height and width, the work’s depth is relatively shallow. The viewer’s experience of the frontal relief surface is closer to that of being before a painting than a sculpture; time is integral to penetrating the enveloping visual environment, as one is lured to probe the dark, secret apertures of the monochrome surface, thus metaphysically entering the space. The initial functions of the disparate objects have been negated through their integration in the engulfing work.

© Estate of Louise Nevelson / SOCAN (2024)

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