new-york

View of “Jean Tinguely,” 2015. Photo: David Regan.

Jean Tinguely

Gladstone Gallery | West 21st St

View of “Jean Tinguely,” 2015. Photo: David Regan.

Jean Tinguely (1925–1991) was a Swiss-born artist of singular though shifting reputation. His special place in American art owes much to his close connection, both stylistic and personal, to our great neo-Dadaists: Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. The elevation of the found object and the devotion to chance, key procedures in the work of both those artists, unexpectedly achieved an apotheosis in the tinkling piano of Tinguely’s own Homage to New York, 1960, a piece that, at its premiere in the gardens of the old Museum of Modern Art, New York, famously collapsed into flames—the unanticipated Götterdämmerung of a vital new mode.

Tinguely’s international reputation began at Galerie Arnaud, Paris, where his first Métamatic reliefs were shown in 1954. Most were black rectangles upon which tiny metal scraps of elemental geometric shapes turned slowly, transforming these abstract

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