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The New School Art Collection

Exhibition Text

Things That Go Bump...,June 29 - September 9, 2012 
Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery 
Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Parsons The New School for Design 

Curated by Silvia Rocciolo and Eric Stark 
Photography by Martin Seck

The American painter Ad Reinhardt once remarked, "Sculpture is something you bump into when you back up to look at a painting." As outrageous and funny as this statement is, it highlights one of the principal concerns of storing and exhibiting sculpture: the occupation of three-dimensional space. The bumpability factor often relegates sculpture to the limbo of deep storage, leaving it under-exhibited and unacknowledged. This is particularly true at The New School where sculpture can only be exhibited in its few large open lobbies. Some works, like Martin Puryear's commissioned benches in the Vera List Atrium and Courtyard at 66 West 12th Street are site-specific and hold permanent court in their hard-won, negotiated spaces. Others, like Fred Wilson's "Pride and Prejudice" in the lobby of the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center outside this gallery, are temporary installations quietly tucked away in spaces determined by traffic and safety codes.

In this third of a series of summer exhibitions dedicated to exploring The New School Art Collection, we offer up some of the sculpture in our collection that has rarely seen the light of day. Pre-dating what is considered contemporary practice, most of these works are materially driven with a distinct formalist bent. There are some noteworthy transitional pieces where the message transcends the medium, but the overwhelming concern of the artists exhibited here is materiality. These are objects whose thingness is tied more to the physical than the cerebral, more to realm of the senses than to the realm of ideas.

Various donors, including University trustees, gifted these works to the institution over the years, and so, the works have no singular focus or thematic thread. The interrelationships and dialogue between them is serendipitous and was not a consideration in their selection. Some of these sculptures are relatively important works by well-known artists; others are simply modest examples of their period. All, however, are in need of an audience and a little more space in which to breathe.

Things That Go Bump

“Things That Go Bump...”, entrance to Kellen Gallery, Sheila Johnson Design Center


Harriet Febland Obelisk, n.d. Wood 81 x 16 ½ x 16 ½ inches 205.7 x 41.9 x 41.9 cm Gift of the artist

Nancy Dwyer Family Secret (six chairs), 1990 Aluminum, mahogany 41 ½ x 16 ½ x 18 inches, each chair 105.4 x 41.9 x 45.7 cm, each chair Edition of 3 Gift of Vera List

Lorna Simpson Screen I, 1986 Photographs, wood screen 73 ½ x 62 x 14 ½ inches 186.7 x 157.5 x 36.8 cm Purchase

Lorna Simpson Screen I, 1986 Photographs, wood screen 73 ½ x 62 x 14 ½ inches 186.7 x 157.5 x 36.8 cm Purchase

Vik Muniz Repair, 1989 Bronze and tape 83 ½ x 3 ¼ x 2 ½ inches 212.1 x 8.3 x 6.4 cm Gift of Barbara S. Morse

Susana Jamie-Mena Untitled, 1987 Metal and beeswax 8 x 15 ½ x 15 ½ inches 20.3 x 39.4 x 39.4 cm Gift of John Sacchi

Haim Steinbach No Wires, No Powercord, 1986 Mixed media 28 ½ x 46 x 19 ¾ inches 72.4 x 116.8 x 50.2 cm Gift of Marianne Johnson

John Ahearn Claribel, 1990 Paint on plaster 18 x 14 ¼ x 9 inches 45.7 x 36.2 x 22.9 cm Signed Gift of Henry Hacker

John Ahearn Claribel, 1990 Paint on plaster 18 x 14 ¼ x 9 inches 45.7 x 36.2 x 22.9 cm Signed Gift of Henry Hacker

Ursula Von Rydingsvard Untitled (White Shovel), 1987 Cedar with whitewash 81 ½ x 10 ¼ x 9 inches 207 x 26 x 22.9 cm Gift of Vera List

Ashley Bickerton (side view) Untitled, 1993 Wax, coral, human hair, coconuts 38 x 14 x 12 inches 96.5 x 35.6 x 30.5 cm Gift of Vera List with Leonard Baskin, Armoured Man, 1962 (center) Leslie Dill, Woman with Obsession, 1988 (back)

Leonard Baskin Armoured Man, 1962 Birch 29 x 13 7/8 x 11 5/8 inches 73.7 x 35.2 x 29.5 cm Acquired by the List Art Purchase Fund, 1962

Leslie Dill Woman with Obsession, 1988 Polymer on wood 42 ½ x 11 ¾ x 9 3/8 inches 108 x 29.8 x 23.8 cm Gift of Barbara S. Morse

George Dudding (floor) John Duff (wall)


John Duff Untitled, 1973 Fiberglass, Resin, Paint 74 x 4½ x 1 inch 188 x 11.4 2 2.5cm 

Gift of Marianne Johnson

George Dudding Range, 1986 Copper 89 x 17 ½ x 7 inches 226.1 x 44.5 x 17.8 cm Gift of John Sacchi

Fletcher Benton Synchronetic L-5000, 1968 Steel, glass, electrified with motor 63 x 61 x 12 inches 160 x 154.9 x 30.5 cm Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cannold

Gerald Laing Trace, 1965 Enamel on metal 95 x 24 inches 241.3 x 61 cm Gift of Vera List

Jon Kessler X-Ray, 1987 Mixed media with lights, motors 28 x 18 x 15 inches 71.1 x 45.7 x 38.1 cm Gift of Burton S. Minkoff

Exhibition view, Kellen Gallery, Sheila Johnson Design Center

Carol Hepper Comet, 1988 Wood, wire, and pigment 45 x 70 x 32 inches 114.3 x 177.8 x 81.3 cm Purchase

Tom Butter Coming About, 1995 Fiberglass, wood, wire, steel 55x 44 ¾ x 13 ½ inches 139.7 x 113.7 x 34.3 cm Gift of Vera List

Ellen Driscoll Bearings, 1987 Wood, lead, copper 11 x 85 x 16 inches 27.9 x 215.9 x 40.6 cm Gift of Vera List

B. Wurtz Untitled (Metal Fixture) , 1986 Photograph, wood, and tin 27 x 7 ½ x 7 ½ inches (object) 68.6 x 19.1 x 19.1 cm 31 x 37 inches (photograph) 78.7 x 94 cm Gift of Barbara and Eugene Schwartz

Cai Guo-Qiang Lion #20 from “ How is your Feng Shui?: Year 2000 Project for Manhattan”, 2000 Granite 18 x 10 ½ x 13 inches 45.7 x 26.7 x 33 inches Gift of Anne Ehrenkranz

Additional Materials