Dancing Duke


John Chamberlain ( American, 1927 - 2011 )

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General Description

Although John Chamberlain was always willing to employ anything steel and painted in his work (a bench, signs, a lunch box, kitchen appliances, etc.), his signature source was steel used to make the mass-produced commodity cars. He first began creating automotive sculptures in 1957, when he stripped a 1929 Ford and gathered similar material at a nearby junkyard. From that point forward, automobile parts provided Chamberlain with ready-painted sheet steel parts which had to interlock successfully before he welded them into place. Rather than an allusion to violent collisions, Chamberlain's primary interest was in the colors and shapes of the car parts, and the poetics and processes of making art.

Adapted from

  • Charles Wylie, DMA label text, 2010.

  • DMA unpublished material.