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Published on Mar 29, 2012
Louise Nevelson, 1899--1988 Night Presence II 1976 Size: 155 5/8 in. x 95 3/4 in. x 55 1/4 in. (395.3 cm x 243.2 cm x 140.3 cm) Museum purchase through the Earle W. Grant Endowment Fund, 1976:137 The outdoor May S. Marcy Sculpture Court, adjacent the Museum's main building, is a must-see for monumental art. Under cover of the Sculpture Court Café stands Louise Nevelson's Night Presence II of 1976, an arresting meditation on architecture composed of columns, finials and scroll-sawed steel offcuts.
Experimenting first with wall-mounted assemblages of found objects, mostly wood, which the artist painted either all black or all white to unify her three-dimensional compositions, Nevelson began in the 1960s to translate these reliefs into freestanding sculptures. The use of welded Cor-Ten steel, its oxidized patina a rusty red, allowed Nevelson to install her work outdoors, her boxy abstractions recalling oversized Cubist collages.
In contrast to Night Presence II's forest of standing forms, the sculpture court also showcases Henry Moore's Reclining Figure: Arch Leg of 1969, alongside works by such sculptors as Barbara Hepworth and David Smith.