Seymour Lipton, Germinal #2, 1953, nickel silver on steel, 70 x 16 x 16".

Seymour Lipton

Driscoll Babcock Galleries

Seymour Lipton, Germinal #2, 1953, nickel silver on steel, 70 x 16 x 16".

At the 1958 Venice Biennale, the American pavilion featured installations by exemplary Abstract Expressionists of the time, including two sculptors: David Smith and Seymour Lipton. A comparison of the artists’ oeuvres is instructive. Both Smith and Lipton made vaguely figurative works, but whereas those by Smith tended to be thin and attenuated, Lipton’s had a bulky if oddly hollow presence; whereas Smith’s surfaces were textured, Lipton’s seemed weirdly agitated; and whereas Smith handled his metal gently, Lipton brutally hammered it, as though to shred its skin. Lipton, who died in 1986, didn’t just use his medium (typically steel or brazed Monel metal coated with nickel silver). He sought to experience a lived, even existential encounter with it.

The seven welded sculptures in “Seymour Lipton: Structural Metaphors, 1951–1964,” evince a sinister intricacy. The geometric, morbidly

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