George Sugarman

Joslyn Art Museum

Pedestals lift and protect sculptures, guarding them from the clumsy and the clumsy from them. But pedestals, besides signaling “beware” or “look,” tend to enforce a false unity. Why must sculpture, unlike life, be so self-contained? Beginning in the early ’60s, sculpture came down off its pedestal. Some give credit to Anthony Caro for this move; a rougher, more dramatic, and perhaps more influential leap was accomplished almost simultaneously by a yet-underacknowledged American, George Sugarman. Doing away with the pedestal and its traditional distancing may have been a notion whose time had come; sculpture needed more space. Suggestions of endlessness, whether mathematical and geometrical as in Minimalism or organic as in Sugar-man’s bright sprawls, needed room. When Minimalism emerged—removing the statues and leaving their pedestals at center stage, as wits of the time put it—Sugarman

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