Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia
H. C. Westermann: Goin' Home
The Museo Reina Sofía has organized, with the support of the Terra Foundation for American Art, H. C. Westermann: Goin’ Home, the largest retrospective yet held in Europe on Horace Clifford Westermann
American artist Horace Clifford Westermann (Los Angeles, 1922 – Danbury, 1981) assembled a distinctive and singular body of sculptures. His works were predominantly made from wood through his masterly command of carpentry and cabinetmaking, yet he also used other techniques and materials such as metal, glass and enamelling with incredible precision. Without adhering to one particular style, Westermann was a maker of objects, of separate pieces: his sculptures, laden with meaning, often irony, result from the processing of experience, coalescing to yield specific fragments of reality.
It is the course of these fragments that the retrospective presented by the Museo Reina Sofía follows.
H. C. Westermann
The exhibition is structured around three thematic sections conceived and curated by Germano Celant as a whole – “Leon Golub”, “H. C. Westermann” and “Famous Artists from Chicago. 1965-1975”
Fondazione Prada will present at its Milan venue a research and information program on the Chicago art scene developed in the aftermath of World War II. The project is focused on the employment of a painting style characterized by political commitment, figurative narratives and radical graphics, and therefore rejected by mainstream New York culture – which was more interested in the abstract and impersonal dimensions of art.
The section devoted to H. C. Westermann reunites on the first floor of the Podium more than 50 sculptures of different dimensions, realized between the 50’s and the 80’s, along with a selection of works on paper.
H. C. Westermann: Venus Over Manhattan
By Rachel Churner
Lined three deep on a massive table, the H. C. Westermann sculptures in this exhibition were stunning in their craftsmanship, blistering in their satire, and sometimes, as in the case of Walnut Box, 1964—a walnut box filled with walnuts—just plain funny. These small-scale constructions, some of the best that Westermann made, were accompanied here by forty-seven prints and drawings, two paintings, and eleven life-size assemblages.
Horace Clifford Westermann was born in 1922 in Los Angeles, California. He attended Los Angeles City College for two years before enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1942, serving aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise during World War II in the Pacific. Following the war, Westermann enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago, before reenlisting for a tour of duty in the Korean War. Upon his return, Westermann reenrolled at the Art Institute, and staged his debut solo exhibition at the Allan Frumkin Gallery in 1958. In 1959, he married the painter Joanna Beall, with whom he moved to Brookfield Center, Connecticut, in 1964. Westermann’s work has been the subject of numerous solo presentations, including recent exhibitions at the Museo National Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Fondazione Prada, Milan; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. His work is held by many public institutions, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago. Westermann lived and worked in Brookfield Center until his death in 1981.