Dancing Duke


John Chamberlain ( American, 1927 - 2011 )

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General Description

Throughout his long career, John Chamberlain has transformed a mass-produced commodity-metal used to make cars-into works of art. While visiting a friend, the artist Larry Rivers, in 1957, Chamberlain stripped an old 1929 Ford, gathered similar material from a nearby junkyard, and created his first sculpture. Chamberlain emphasizes the "idea of the squeeze, the compression, and the fit" as central to his sculpture. Parts must interlock successfully, and only then does he weld them into place. Asserting his primary interest in the colors and shapes of the car parts, Chamberlain said, "Using car metal is fine, but the sculptures are not car crashes and they are not violent." They can be seen as having the gesture of a three-dimensional brushstroke, but they project themselves forcefully and undeniably into space as full-on sculpture.