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John Chamberlain

John Chamberlain, Homer, 1960 Painted tin, with wood base, 16 × 13 ½ × 11 inches (40.6 × 34.3 × 27.9 cm)© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Homer, 1960

Painted tin, with wood base, 16 × 13 ½ × 11 inches (40.6 × 34.3 × 27.9 cm)
© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Untitled, 1965 Painted and chrome-plated steel, 43 × 35.5 × 26 inches (109.2 × 90.2 × 66 cm)© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Untitled, 1965

Painted and chrome-plated steel, 43 × 35.5 × 26 inches (109.2 × 90.2 × 66 cm)
© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Untitled #7, 1966 Urethane foam, cord, cloth, paint, and wooden beads, 6 ¼ × 12 ⅞ × 11 ⅞ inches (15.9 × 32.7 × 30.2 cm), University of New Mexico Art Museum, Albuquerque© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Untitled #7, 1966

Urethane foam, cord, cloth, paint, and wooden beads, 6 ¼ × 12 ⅞ × 11 ⅞ inches (15.9 × 32.7 × 30.2 cm), University of New Mexico Art Museum, Albuquerque
© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Mannabend Ra, 1966 Urethane foam and cord, 27 ½ × 52 × 48 inches (69.9 × 132.1 × 121.9 cm), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Mannabend Ra, 1966

Urethane foam and cord, 27 ½ × 52 × 48 inches (69.9 × 132.1 × 121.9 cm), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Untitled, 1969 Brown resin on brown paper, 5 × 5 × 5 inches (12.7 × 12.7 × 12.7 cm)© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Untitled, 1969

Brown resin on brown paper, 5 × 5 × 5 inches (12.7 × 12.7 × 12.7 cm)
© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Untitled, 1974 Dye on paper, 30 ¼ × 58 ¼ inches (76.9 × 148 cm)© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Untitled, 1974

Dye on paper, 30 ¼ × 58 ¼ inches (76.9 × 148 cm)
© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Blue Flushing, 1975 Painted and chrome-plated steel, 59 × 63 × 27 inches (149.9 × 160 × 68.6 cm)© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Blue Flushing, 1975

Painted and chrome-plated steel, 59 × 63 × 27 inches (149.9 × 160 × 68.6 cm)
© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Gondola Walt Whitman, 1981–82 Painted and chrome-plated steel, 25 × 20 × 162 inches (61 × 50.8 × 411.5 cm)© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Gondola Walt Whitman, 1981–82

Painted and chrome-plated steel, 25 × 20 × 162 inches (61 × 50.8 × 411.5 cm)
© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Battsy Beeker, 1983 Painted and chrome-plated steel, 15 ½ × 19 × 17 inches (39.4 × 48.2 × 43.2 cm)© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Battsy Beeker, 1983

Painted and chrome-plated steel, 15 ½ × 19 × 17 inches (39.4 × 48.2 × 43.2 cm)
© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Wanderingwhisper, 1986 Painted and chrome-plated steel, 23 × 30 × 21 inches (58.4 × 76.2 × 53.3 cm)© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Wanderingwhisper, 1986

Painted and chrome-plated steel, 23 × 30 × 21 inches (58.4 × 76.2 × 53.3 cm)
© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Sprayed Myopia, 1988 Painted and chrome-plated steel, 87 × 57 × 50 inches (221 × 144.8 × 127 cm)© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Sprayed Myopia, 1988

Painted and chrome-plated steel, 87 × 57 × 50 inches (221 × 144.8 × 127 cm)
© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Self-Portrait, 1989 Widelux photograph, 20 × 24 inches (50.8 × 61 cm)© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Self-Portrait, 1989

Widelux photograph, 20 × 24 inches (50.8 × 61 cm)
© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Anteambulo Quincunx, 1992 Painted steel, 48 ⅜ × 77 × 59 inches (122.9 × 195.6 × 149.9 cm)© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Anteambulo Quincunx, 1992

Painted steel, 48 ⅜ × 77 × 59 inches (122.9 × 195.6 × 149.9 cm)
© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, GLEAMINGSPOTLIGHT, 1992 Chrome-plated steel, 41 × 41 × 26 inches (104.1 × 104.1 × 66 cm)© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, GLEAMINGSPOTLIGHT, 1992

Chrome-plated steel, 41 × 41 × 26 inches (104.1 × 104.1 × 66 cm)
© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Opus 18, 1998 Painted and chrome-plated steel, 14 ⅝ × 14 ½ × 9 ½ inches (37.1 × 36.8 × 24.1 cm)© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, Opus 18, 1998

Painted and chrome-plated steel, 14 ⅝ × 14 ½ × 9 ½ inches (37.1 × 36.8 × 24.1 cm)
© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, ENTIRELYFEARLESS, 2009 Painted and chrome-plated steel, 85 ½ × 44 ½ × 42 ¼ inches (217.2 × 113 × 107.3 cm)© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, ENTIRELYFEARLESS, 2009

Painted and chrome-plated steel, 85 ½ × 44 ½ × 42 ¼ inches (217.2 × 113 × 107.3 cm)
© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, EUPHORIAINAHAT, 2010 Painted and chrome-plated steel, 92 × 67 ⅝ × 55 ¼ inches (233.7 × 171.8 × 140.3 cm)© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, EUPHORIAINAHAT, 2010

Painted and chrome-plated steel, 92 × 67 ⅝ × 55 ¼ inches (233.7 × 171.8 × 140.3 cm)
© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, WITCHESOASIS, 2011 Painted and chrome-plated steel, 84 ½ × 89 × 75 inches (214.6 × 226.1 × 190.5 cm)© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, WITCHESOASIS, 2011

Painted and chrome-plated steel, 84 ½ × 89 × 75 inches (214.6 × 226.1 × 190.5 cm)
© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, PINEAPPLESURPRISE, 2010 Colored aluminum, 185 × 130 × 126 inches (469.9 × 330.2 × 320 cm)© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

John Chamberlain, PINEAPPLESURPRISE, 2010

Colored aluminum, 185 × 130 × 126 inches (469.9 × 330.2 × 320 cm)
© 2018 Fairweather & Fairweather LTD/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

About

In finding your place in sculpture, you need to find the material that offers you just the right resistance. As it turns out, car metal offers me the correct resistance so that I can make a form—not overform it or underform it.
—John Chamberlain

John Chamberlain’s (1927–2011) distinctive metal sculptures, often made of crushed automobile steel, reveal both the stately grace and the expressive plasticity of industrial materials. Exploring the interplay of color, weight, and balance, Chamberlain tapped into the energy of Abstract Expressionism, the premanufactured elements of Pop art and Minimalism, and the provocative folds of the High Baroque.

In the mid-1940s Chamberlain spent nearly three years aboard an aircraft carrier while serving in the US Navy. Traveling through the Pacific, Mediterranean, and Atlantic greatly influenced his sense of scale and viewpoint. Following his return to the United States, he studied at the Art Institute of Chicago (1951–52) and then at Black Mountain College in North Carolina (1955–56), where he fostered a keen appreciation for poetry and began to consider language as an integral part of his aesthetic approach.

Chamberlain moved to New York in 1956 and the following year made Shortstop, his first sculpture incorporating automobile parts. He continued to use this material, revealing the seemingly infinite formal potential of the shining chrome, flaking paint, hard edges, and voluminous folds. In 1961 his innovations led to his inclusion in the Art of Assemblage at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, where his sculptures were shown alongside Futurist, Surrealist, and Cubist works.

At the end of the 1960s Chamberlain began to incorporate galvanized steel, urethane foam, and mineral-coated Plexiglas into his work. Despite the physical differences of these materials, Chamberlain was consistent in his approach, constantly searching for the right “fit” and rearranging compositions until they “locked into place.”

Chamberlain returned to the nearly exclusive use of automobile parts in the mid-1970s, expanding his technique by cutting and painting the metal. Seeking a larger studio space with higher ceilings where he could expand the scale of his work, he moved from New York to Sarasota, Florida, in 1980. There he made the Gondolas (1981–82), long, low works often displayed in pairs or groups on the floor, like abstracted boats floating in a row. For the Giraffe series (c. 1982–83), he sandblasted painted car metal, removing the color in patterned, linear strips to reveal the raw surface beneath.

Chamberlain’s dynamic spatial abstractions extended beyond sculpture into film, photography, prints, paintings, reliefs, masks, and more. The Barges (1971–83), huge foam couches, form plush terrains in which visitors are invited to lounge. His colorized panoramic photographs, which he began in 1989, made using a moving camera, create abstracted scenes that the artist called “self-portraits of [his] nervous system.”

In 2007 Chamberlain began transposing miniature models crafted from aluminum foil into monumental outdoor sculptures. The resulting works, four of which were on view outside the Seagram Building, New York, in 2012, maintain the lightness, directness, and spontaneity of the fragile original models despite their stable, balanced forms. Some of the last works that Chamberlain made in his lifetime, the foil sculptures—with titles such as FROSTYDICKFANTASY (2008) and PINEAPPLESURPRISE (2010)—bring together the whimsical  humor, technical mastery, and dynamic expression that run throughout the artist’s sixty-year career.

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Charles Ray, Tractor, 2003–04 © Charles Ray, courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery

Tour

Crushed, Cast, Constructed
Sculpture by John Chamberlain, Urs Fischer, and Charles Ray

Thursday, July 23, 2020, 12pm EDT (5pm BST)

Join Gagosian for a virtual tour of Crushed, Cast, Constructed: Sculpture by John Chamberlain, Urs Fischer, and Charles Ray, an exhibition on view at Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London, through July 31. Gagosian’s Alice Godwin will discuss the three artists’ divergent sculptural processes, examining their individual approaches and identities with respect to materials and methods. To join, register at zoom.us.

Charles Ray, Tractor, 2003–04 © Charles Ray, courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery

Installation view, American Pastoral, Gagosian, Britannia Street, London, January 23–March 14, 2020. Artwork, left to right: © Theaster Gates, © Adam McEwen, Thomas Moran, © Richard Prince, © Banks Violette, © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Tour

American Pastoral

Thursday, March 5, 2020, 6:30pm
Gagosian, Britannia Street, London

Join Gagosian for a tour of the group exhibition American Pastoral. The show juxtaposes modern and contemporary works with historical American landscapes ranging from Albert Bierstadt’s depiction of the sublime in Sunset over the River (1877) to Edward Hopper’s tranquil seaside scene, Gloucester Harbor (1926). Gagosian’s Alice Godwin will focus on a select grouping of exhibited works that seek to challenge the idealized vision of the American Dream that has long been a rich topic of inquiry for artists in the United States. To attend the free event, RSVP to londontours@gagosian.com. Space is limited.

Installation view, American Pastoral, Gagosian, Britannia Street, London, January 23–March 14, 2020. Artwork, left to right: © Theaster Gates, © Adam McEwen, Thomas Moran, © Richard Prince, © Banks Violette, © Ed Ruscha. Photo: Lucy Dawkins

Chris Burden, How to Shrink L.A., 1999 © 2020 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Art Fair

Frieze Los Angeles 2020
How to Shrink L.A.

February 14–16, 2020, booth C06
Paramount Picture Studios, Los Angeles
frieze.com

Gagosian is pleased to participate in Frieze Los Angeles 2020. Taking Los Angeles’s system of highways as a literal and figurative backdrop, the selection includes Richard Prince’s full-scale car sculpture Untitled (2008) and Chris Burden’s ominously oversize L.A.P.D. Uniform (1993). The booth also includes work by Jean-Michel Basquiat, John Chamberlain, Urs Fischer, Theaster Gates, Piero Golia, Alex Israel, Sally Mann, Adam McEwen, Cady Noland, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Taryn Simon, Robert Therrien, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann, and others.

To receive a PDF with detailed information on the works in the booth, please contact the gallery at inquire@gagosian.com. To attend the fair, purchase tickets at frieze.com.

Download the full press release (PDF)

Chris Burden, How to Shrink L.A., 1999 © 2020 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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