artist of the day #26: John Chamberlain

In the arts and entertainment world we are all too familiar with those that die young, well thankfully, it doesn’t happen to all of them. Recently the art world lost sculptor John Chamberlain who was actively still creating works up until his death at the ripe old age of 84. Chamberlain was best known for his sculptures using old mangled car parts in what is more closely related to the painting movement of abstract expressionism than any movement in the sculptural world. He himself has been known to state that he has been more influenced by painters and poets than any sculptor he has ever met.

Throughout his career, Chamberlain has dealt with a lot of people kind of misinterpreting his work. Critics and viewers of all types often thought he was trying to make some comment on the automobile industry and often put more analysis into what kind of car the parts came from, rather than what shapes and colors he was using. Chamberlain almost worked more as a 3-dimensional collage artist than a sculptor. He rarely did much manipulation to each piece of metal he worked with, and tried more so to see how different pieces should fit together as they were. “I think of my art materials not as junk but as garbage. Manure, actually; it goes from being the waste material of one being to the life-source of another.”

Chamberlain works mostly from instinct and says he feels done with a piece when he feels happy that the sculpture exists, regardless of who made it. He has shown work all over the world and the Guggenheim will be doing a second retrospective of his work early in 2012 to commemorate his death. He even has work on the moon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_Museum).

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