By the time of his death last year, Richard Stankiewicz’s sculpture had long secured a place in postwar American art. By age he was between the first generation of New York School sculptors, as personified by David Smith, and the second, as personified by John Chamberlain, Donald Judd, et al. But Stankiewicz’s esthetic put him somewhere to the side of the main developments in sculpture of the past 35 years. Although he was among the best of the period’s welder assemblagists, he only sometimes overcame the distractingly literal connotations of his chosen medium. More often than not, he seemed unwilling to master the formulaic surrealism inherent in the additive objet trouvé. This show, an abbreviated overview of work from 1951 to 1981, inadvertently made this point more than once.
An untitled piece from 1951 set the show’s revelatory tone. Delicately small, a thin, airy, attenuation of
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