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Louise Nevelson

Sky Cathedral/Southern Mountain

1959

Louise Nevelson began making her signature black environments in 1958, combining the dynamic actions and forms of Abstract Expressionism with Cubist structures. Sky Cathedral/Southern Mountain features stacked boxes and crates, each containing its own composition of found objects. Moldings, furniture legs, balusters, bowling pins, chair slats, newel posts, and other random pieces of wood are wedged together like the tools and screws of a busy carpenter’s cabinet. Painted a uniform black, these compartments seem both textured and unvarying, composing intricate patterns that quickly recede into the overall work.

Louise Nevelson (b. 1899, Kiev, Ukraine; d. 1988, New York)
Sky Cathedral/Southern Mountain, 1959
Wood painted black
114 x 124 x 16 in.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Gift of the artist

I gave the work order; I neutralized it by one tone. One of the reasons I originally started with black was to see the forms more clearly. Black seemed the strongest and clearest.... I don’t make sculpture and it isn’t black and it isn’t wood or anything, because I wanted something else. I wanted an essence. —Louise Nevelson

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