new-york

Louise Nevelson, Untitled, 1956, cardboard, foil, paint, and wood on board, 46 × 36".

Louise Nevelson

Pace | 537 West 24th Street

Louise Nevelson, Untitled, 1956, cardboard, foil, paint, and wood on board, 46 × 36".

On some basic level, every exhibition is about work. But this commanding display of collages and assemblages by Louise Nevelson (1899–1988), encompassing three decades, made work—as in production and profession, and also difficulty—its backbone. For those, like me, who never witnessed Nevelson’s earliest gallery outings in the mid-twentieth century, and who know her art through the monumental, monochrome wall sculptures (primarily painted black) that are a staple of American museum collections, this show was a revelation.

Central to Nevelson’s untitled collages and assemblages is a working through and recursion of form over time. Despite their scale and relative obscurity, these are not, I would argue, studies for her larger, better-known sculptures. One of the best aspects of the Pace show was its inclusion of two such pieces for comparison, each measuring over eleven

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