The Music Center at Strathmore is showing off its second work on loan from the prestigious collection at the private Glenstone museum in Potomac, a sculpture from artist Lee Bontecou that will be on display in the lobby until next year.
The 1962 piece, “Untitled,” is one of Bontecou’s wall-mounted works of steel, wood, wire and canvas that became her calling card. In 2012, the Strathmore (5301 Tuckerman Lane) announced a creative partnership with Glenstone, the private art museum on the 200-acre estate of Bethesda native and billionaire Mitchell Rales.
Strathmore will recognize the contribution during it’s Spring 2013 Gala, set for Saturday April, 20.
Bontecou’s sculptures made her one of the most celebrated young artists in New York during the 1960s. Her complex assemblages allude to both the machine and the organic world, straddling the categories of abstraction and figuration, while also blurring the boundaries between painting and sculpture.
Untitled of 1962 is an important and powerful example of her most renowned body of work, her large-scale wall-mounted sculptural reliefs of the early 1960s. Bontecou’s materials—steel, wood, wire and canvas—create gaping orifices of steel and canvas pulled and stitched like skin, evoking both industrial technology as well as metaphors for the body. In these groundbreaking works, Bontecou built up a heavy armature of metal, which she then covered in scraps of canvas and an array of industrial materials and objects. The result is a highly charged assemblage, which thrusts outward into the viewer’s space with a distinctly forceful energy. The center of the composition is dominated by Bontecou’s signature motif of a black cavity. Viewing the work in person becomes a psychologically charged encounter.