Louise Nevelson’s Sculpture

Catherine Quan Damman at Artforum:

THE ICONIC LOUISE NEVELSON sculpture would appear straightforward to summarize: monochrome, modular, monumental. In general, such qualities—and to them we might add wooden, assemblage, usually black, comprising found objects—indicate an artist singularly absorbed, working through a set of formal propositions over a career, pursuing the archetypal enterprise of the modernist master. In particular, though, up close and personal, Nevelson’s sculptures are, well, defiantly weird.

In confronting their grids and boxes, their all-consuming size, and their dedication to a particular color, the scholar or critic is firmly set upon recognizable, even overly familiar grounds. Looser underfoot is the works’ insistence on so much unnecessary filigree, their many wonky flanges and cavities. More destabilizing still are the ways that the artist’s preferred dusky hues unsettle the eye’s disciplined construal of recess and protrusion, how the voluptuous curves of lathe-turned wood jostle against the firm perpendiculars of the crates that contain them, or the sculptures’ magpie dedication to hodgepodge and their often visibly precarious construction.

more here.