Our Next Program - Thursday, October 10, 2019 at 10:00AM
Peoria Riverfront Museum, 222 SW Washington St., Peoria, IL 61602
Harry Bertoia: Sculpting Mid-Century Modern Life
HARRY BERTOIA: SCULPTING MID-CENTURY MODERN LIFE
by Dr. Marin R. Sullivan, Independent Scholar
Bertoia’s sculptures, much like his furniture, revolved around the manipulation of metal and space—his pieces vary from clusters of vertical rods to flat gongs in every size. In the 1960s and 70s, Bertoia embarked on the creation of what he called his “sonambients;” free-standing sculptures composed of metal. Aesthetically, the sculptures resembled dozens of solid metal rods bored into a compact, metal platform. But because the rods were typically made of beryllium copper, a ductile type of metal used to make loaded springs and coils, the rods swayed when touched—hence making them “playable.”
Dr. Sullivan is Director of the newly launched Harry Bertoia Catalogue Raisonné Project, which seeks to document and research the diverse and extensive artistic practice of the Italian-American artist Harry Bertoia (1915-1978). The goal is to provide a comprehensive record and resource of the artist’s work, and will include his painting, graphics (including monotypes), furniture, jewelry, metalwork, sound recordings, and sculpture.
During the 2017-18 academic year, Sullivan served as a Tyson Scholar at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, and George Gurney Postdoctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. She was Assistant Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire, and prior to that appointment, served as the Henry Moore Foundation Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds. She has taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Michigan, and Southern Methodist University.
image upper left: Sonambient, 1970s, Beryllium copper, brass
image left: Dr. Marin R. Sullivan
image below: Golden Rods, 1959; photo: Phillips