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Richard Deacon, Distance No Object, 1988, painted steel, copper, 8' 7“ × 12' 3” × 20'.

Richard Deacon

San Diego Museum of Art

Richard Deacon, Distance No Object, 1988, painted steel, copper, 8' 7“ × 12' 3” × 20'.

At long last, a retrospective of the British artist Richard Deacon’s inventively shaped, often buoyant sculptures and geometrically themed works on paper has been mounted by an American museum. At sixty-seven, Deacon, a 1987 Turner Prize recipient, has an extensive exhibition history—commencing in London during the mid-1970s and including, a decade later, his solo debut in the United States in 1985. This engrossing look at his career was certainly overdue.

Presenting more than forty works spanning five decades, “What You See Is What You Get,” as this exhibition is called, impresses with its breadth and depth. Deacon works with a range of materials: wood, ceramics, handmade paper, and all sorts of metals. He then transforms these with a variety of techniques, both novel and traditional, to dazzling effect. He’s created, for example, a corpus of enchanting pieces by steaming

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