Known for large scale sculptural interventions, the current exhibition at Paula Cooper Gallery will focus instead on Robert Grosvenor’s smaller works. Recent sculpture, found objects from the artist’s personal collection, and new photographs underline the elusive nature of Grosvenor’s practice. The exhibition coincides with Grosvenor’s participation in the Venice Biennale, which opens on April 23rd.
A prolonged fascination with the aerodynamics of machinery and vehicular shapes has increasingly informed the refined form and vibrant color of Grosvenor’s recent sculpture. An acidic green cone, made from industrial materials shaped by hand, presents a concise summary of these positions. The boundaries between found object and sculpture are further blurred in a pair of yellow fenders fitted with wheels by the artist, transforming the objects–which already exuded Grosvenor’s sculptural sensibility–into something uniquely his own.
On the walls, a new series of photographs present the interactions of pure color, water and ice as deeply textured and multicolored abstractions. After a storm in the winter of 2021, Grosvenor experimented with flocking powder––a pigment made of tiny fibers typically used in combination with an adhesive––flinging the richly colored material onto discarded piles of snow and recording the otherworldly landscape in mysterious and atmospheric images.
In the street-level vitrine, an untitled sculpture from 1991 intervenes between the floor, the ceiling, and the surrounding walls. Two rectangular, gently curved panels are positioned horizontally to the ground, the lower of the two balanced on four concrete blocks, the smaller punctured with a pole and suspended above it. The uncanny composition of familiar parts encourages an extended looking.
Robert Grosvenor (b. 1937, New York) studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in France, and the Universitá di Perugia in Italy. In the 1960s, he was included in the seminally important group exhibitions Primary Structures (Jewish Museum, 1966) and Minimal Art (Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, 1968), which helped define minimalism. One-person exhibitions of Grosvenor’s work have been presented at the Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland (1992); the Fundação de Serralves, Porto, Portugal (2005); the Renaissance Society, Chicago, IL (2017); and the ICA Miami (2019). Grosvenor’s work is in the collections of the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Storm King Art Center, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Serralves Museum, Porto; and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. Grosvenor lives and works in Long Island, NY.
At the Venice Biennale, Grosvenor will present three large-scale untitled sculptures from 1987-1988, 2018, and 2019, engaging the aforementioned concerns of containment, acceleration, and the transformation of architecture through sculpture.