John Chamberlain

L&M Arts | New York

In spite of fashioning his sculptures from the twisted steel of junked cars, John Chamberlain has long distanced himself from the spectacular American history of the car crash: Gatsby, General Patton, James Dean, and, of course, Pollock. He has insisted that his works “are not car crashes” or even evocations of violence. Notwithstanding the Pop flair of his literal mash-ups of auto refuse, he has usually been linked instead to the Abstract Expressionists, a connection he has bolstered with musings like, “I prefer not to think about [car crashes and violence] as much as I think about the poetics and the processes.” Still, even if Chamberlain’s words may lure viewers into prioritizing color over content, poetics over interpretation, this doesn’t change the reality that his autophilic sculptures of the ’60s presciently anticipated an American appetite for vicarious, voyeuristic experiences

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