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David Smith: The Art and Life of a Transformational Sculptor

David Smith: The Art and Life of a Transformational Sculptor

by Michael Brenson
David Smith: The Art and Life of a Transformational Sculptor

David Smith: The Art and Life of a Transformational Sculptor

by Michael Brenson

Hardcover

$50.00
Available for Pre-Order. This item will be available on October 4, 2022

Overview

The landmark biography of the inscrutable and brilliant David Smith, the greatest American sculptor of the twentieth century.

The artist David Smith once wrote, “'Humanism' is a useless word in my time.” A member of the abstract expressionist generation, he would do more than any sculptor of his era to bring the plastic arts to the forefront of the American scene. Central to this project was his desire to explode the logic that equated representation and harmony with humanistic values in the postwar era—instead, Smith sought out the unbalanced and unexpected, creating works of art that seem to undergo radical shifts as the spectator moves from one point of view to another. So groundbreaking and prolific were his contributions to American art that by the time Smith was just forty years old, Clement Greenberg was already calling him “the greatest sculptor this country has produced.”

Michael Brenson’s David Smith: The Art and Life of a Transformational Sculptor is the first major biography of this epochal figure. It follows Smith from his upbringing in the Midwest, to his heady early years in Manhattan, to his decision to establish a permanent studio in Bolton Landing in upstate New York, where he would create many of his most significant works—among them the Cubis, Tanktomems, and Zigs. It explores his at times tempestuous personal life, marked by marriages, divorces, and fallings-out, as well as by deep friendships with the likes of Helen Frankenthaler and Robert Motherwell. His wife Jean Freas described him as “Salty and bombastic, jumbo and featherlight, thin-skinned and Mack Truck. And many more things”—and this was true of his work as well. He was a bricoleur, a skilled welder, a painter, and a writer, and he entranced critics and attracted admirers wherever he showed his work.

With this book, richly illustrated with more than one hundred photographs, Brenson has contextualized Smith for a new generation of fans and confirmed his singular place in the history of American art.



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374281465
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 10/04/2022
Pages: 864
Product dimensions: 9.10(w) x 6.40(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

Michael Brenson is a member of the sculpture faculty at Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts and the author of Visionaries and Outcasts: The NEA, Congress, and the Place of the Visual Artist in America. A former art critic for The New York Times, Brenson has been a Getty Scholar, a Bogliasco Fellow, a Clark Fellow, and a Guggenheim Fellow, and he was awarded a Creative Nonfiction Grant from the Whiting Foundation. He has curated exhibitions at MoMA PS1 and the SculptureCenter, and has organized and moderated conferences or panels at the National Gallery of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Rockefeller Foundation, and New York’s Jewish Museum. He lives in Accord, New York.

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