new-york

H. C. Westermann, Untitled (Walnut Death Ship in a Chestnut Box), 1974, chestnut, walnut, zebrawood, galvanized sheet metal, copper, ebony, 17 7/8 × 24 7/8 × 8 1/2".

H. C. Westermann

Venus

H. C. Westermann, Untitled (Walnut Death Ship in a Chestnut Box), 1974, chestnut, walnut, zebrawood, galvanized sheet metal, copper, ebony, 17 7/8 × 24 7/8 × 8 1/2".

Lined three deep on a massive table, the H. C. Westermann sculptures in this exhibition were stunning in their craftsmanship, blistering in their satire, and sometimes, as in the case of Walnut Box, 1964—a walnut box filled with walnuts—just plain funny. These small-scale constructions, some of the best that Westermann made, were accompanied here by forty-seven prints and drawings, two paintings, and eleven life-size assemblages.

Colored by his time as a marine on the USS Enterprise (called the “Grey Ghost” because of Japan’s multiple claims to have sunk it) in World War II, and later as an infantryman in the Korean War, Westermann’s understanding of the destruction wrought by military aggression is most plainly presented through the “death ship” that appears throughout his sculptures and drawings. In Untitled (Walnut Death Ship in a Chestnut Box), 1974, an airplane has

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