Constantin Brancusi Sculpture

Constantin Brancusi SculptureImage courtesy of MoMA

CONSTANTIN BRANCUSI SCULPTURE
July 22, 2018–February 18, 2019
The Museum of Modern Art, Floor 2
Organized by Paulina Pobocha, Associate Curator, with Mia Matthias, Curatorial Fellow, Department of Painting and Sculpture

Looking back at the first showing of Constantin Brancusi’s work (1876–1957) in the United States, in the 1913 Armory Show, one writer reflected that sculptures on view were “disturbing, so disturbing indeed that they completely altered the attitude of a great many New Yorkers towards a whole branch of art.” Indeed, Brancusi’s beguilingly simple forms looked like nothing else, then or since.

Rather than modeling clay like his peers, Brancusi carved his work directly from wood or stone, or cast it in bronze. Simultaneously, he rejected realism, preferring that his sculptures evoke rather than resemble the subjects named in their titles. Brancusi made bases for many of his sculptures, themselves complex constructions that became part of the work. He often moved works from base to base, or placed them directly on the floor of his studio, so that they lived in the world alongside ordinary objects, and among people.

Constantin Brancusi SculptureImage courtesy of MoMA

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Born in rural Romania, Brancusi moved to Paris in 1904, where he established his studio and quickly immersed himself in avant-garde art circles. In his adopted city, he embraced an experimental modern spirit, including an interest in modern machines and popular culture. With his friend Man Ray, he made films that captured his life in the studio – working with his materials and muses, activating his artworks through movement and recombination, and revealing his sources of inspiration such as animals at play, light in nature, and dance. Yet until his death he proudly presented himself as an outsider – cultivating his image as a peasant, with a long beard, work shirt, and sandals. The contradiction also informs his art making, which was dependent on ancient techniques as much as contemporary technologies.

Constantin Brancuso SculptureImage courtesy of MoMA

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This exhibition celebrates MoMA’s extraordinary holdings11 sculptures by Brancusi will be shown together for the first time, alongside drawings, photographs, and films. A selection of never-before-seen archival materials shed light on his relationships with friends, sitters, and patrons, including this Museum. What emerges is a rich portrait of an artist whose risk – taking and inventive approach to form changed the course of the art that followed.

Constantin Brancusi SculptureImage courtesy of MoMA

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The exhibition is made possible by Monique M. Schoen Warshaw.

Major support is provided by The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, and by Jack Shear with The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art.

Additional support is provided by the Annual Exhibition Fund with major contributions from the Estate of Ralph L. Riehle, Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Alice and Tom Tisch, The Marella and Giovanni Agnelli Fund for Exhibitions, Mimi and Peter Haas Fund, Brett and Daniel Sundheim, Franz Wassmer, Karen and Gary Winnick, and Oya and Bülent Eczacıbaşı.

more. www.moma.org

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