(1) John Chamberlain, Angus. 1962. Steel and painted metal. h: 9 x w: 7 x d: 5 in / h: 22.9 x w: 17.8 x d: 12.7 cm. Allan Stone Gallery.

(2) John Chamberlain, Rhinestone Anklebone. 2007. Painted and chromed steel. h: 26 x w: 29 x d: 14.5 in / h: 66 x w: 73.7 x d: 36.8 cm. Barbara Mathes Gallery.


‘John Chamberlain, Who Wrested Rough Magic From Scrap Metal, Dies at 84’ , New York Times (22 Dec 2011), http://nyti.ms/1cboABj

“In a restless career of almost half a century, Mr. Chamberlain worked with a broad range of materials, some as pliant as foam rubber and as ephemeral as brown paper bags. But he returned again and again to the more substantial stuff of the scrap yard, explaining the attraction as one of practicality. ‘I saw all this material just lying around against buildings, and it was in color,’ he said, ‘so I felt I was ahead on two counts…’

“Mr. Chamberlain devoted his life to challenging traditional notions of sculpture and to eroding the boundaries between sculpture and painting. He was among a wave of late-modernist sculptors who put color on an almost equal footing with form, and he had an uncanny ability, as the curator Klaus Kertess wrote, ‘to make roundness into color and color into roundness…’

“Mr. Chamberlain spoke of his work with reluctance and often humility, deriding the over-intellectualizing tendencies of his questioners. “Everyone always wanted to know what it meant, you know: ‘What does it mean, jellybean?’ ” he told Julie Sylvester, adding: “Even if I knew, I could only know what I thought it meant.”

But he trusted his instincts and seemed to follow them to please himself more than anyone else. ‘When a sculpture is nearly done, you can put things on and you take them off and it doesn’t make any difference,’ he said. ‘Stopping is the key; you have to know when to stop. If I feel so glad that a sculpture is here, and I don’t care who did it, then I figure it’s a good piece.’