534 W 21st Street
NEW YORK—The Paula Cooper Gallery is pleased to announce the exhibition of three sculptures by Robert Grosvenor, on view for one month, from February 5 through March 6, 2010, at 534 West 21st Street.
The works cover a period in Grosvenor’s work, from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, when the artist was working primarily with found industrial materials such as steel, concrete, plastic or fiberglass, investigating shapes and structures derived from urban vernacular architecture.
Untitled (1986–87) consists of a fragment of concrete wall lying on a blue tarp and sheltered by a makeshift steel structure with four thin steel posts ending in rough-hewn discs. Untitled (1991), an assemblage of steel, concrete blocks, fiberglass and plastic, echoes the canopy structure of the previous piece, with the upper element appearing like a smaller translucent version of the low-slung, rusted steel base. Grosvenor has resisted the reference to shelters or sanctuaries for works from this period, instead pointing to the shape of the canopy as “structurally interesting.”
While it suggests the other two sculptures, with its combination of base, rod and overhanging element, Untitled (1994) departs from Grosvenor’s earlier work. Though still made of found materials, the circular mound-like base and rectangular top, with stacked silver-painted elements, appears less like an assemblage and more like a deliberately manufactured whole. Irreducible as an architectural structure, the piece appears to be a unique form of inexplicable origin.
Ulrich Loock has described the “success” of Grosvenor’s work as “based on an achieved balance between the sculptural form’s claim to integrate the various elements, and the resistance of these elements to any form of instrumentalization. […] It is this balance that makes the work appear both (formally) convincing and puzzling (as regards the properties of the various elements and their connection to one another.”
Born in New York City in 1937, Robert Grosvenor studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in France and the Universitá di Perugia in Italy. His work has been prominently included in important exhibitions such as Primary Structures (Jewish Museum, 1966) and Minimal Art (Den Haag Gementemuseum, 1968), which helped define minimalism. He soon diverged from this movement to create mysterious, fiercely idiosyncratic works that defy classification. Grosvenor’s work is featured in the collections of the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Storm King Art Center, New York, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Serralves Museum, Porto.
Robert Grosvenor will be part of the upcoming 2010 Whitney Biennial (Feb. 25 – May 30, 2010).