Eccentric Objects

Rethinking Sculpture in 1960s America

Jo Applin


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In America during the 1960s, sculpture as an artistic practice underwent a series of radical transformations. Artists including Lee Bontecou, Claes Oldenburg, Lucas Samaras, H. C. Westermann, and Bruce Nauman offered alternative ways of imagining the three-dimensional object. The objects they created were variously described as erotic, soft, figurative, aggressive, bodily, or, in the words of the critic Lucy Lippard, "eccentric."

Looking beyond the familiar and canonic artworks of the 1960s, the book challenges not only how we think about these artists, but how we learn to look at the more familiar narratives of 1960s sculpture, such as Pop and Minimalism. Ambivalent and disruptive, the work of this decade articulated a radical renegotiation—rejection, even—of contemporary paradigms of sculptural practice. This invigorating study explores that shift and the ways in which the kinds of work made in this period defied established categories and questioned the criteria for thinking about sculpture.

Jo Applin is a lecturer in the history of art department at the University of York.

‘Throughout her study she permits a fruitful interplay between the physical untidiness and eccentric awkwardness of the sculptural objects she describes and her own unwillingness to impose incontrovertible categories on her art-historical material’—Alistair Rider, Sculpture Journal.
ISBN: 9780300181982
Publication Date: October 30, 2012
176 pages, 7 1/2 x 10
40 color + 38 b/w illus.
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