Richard Meier & Partners Architects LLP

Richard Meier: Sculpture

Leo Castelli Gallery

New York, New York

September 17, 1994 - October 8, 1994

Meier’s foray into found-object sculpture began on a visit to a foundry with his longtime friend, Frank Stella. He assembled wax elements and refuse into complex compositions, and thus began a passion that would result in dozens of sculptures. He soon expanded his found objects to include scraps of architectural models collected from his model shop in Los Angeles. He binds these elements and items from the foundry together with string, and then dumps the whole bundle into wax. This is used to create a ceramic mold, which in turn provides the shell for casting the pieces in stainless steel. He sees this kind of artistic cannibalism as a way of breathing new life into the abandoned models: recycling as reanimation.

Meier further underscores this process by leaving remnants and scars of the casting in the finished works. The serpentine tubes that coil around pieces are the “gates” through which the liquid metal flows in the ceramic mold; the solid cylinders that anchor certain sculptures are cups into which the metal was poured. Rather than sawing these off, Meier allows them to enliven his compositions. Creases and drips from the casting line the surfaces; elsewhere the tentacular gates have been torn off like weeds, their edges left raw. Meier was attracted to stainless steel because the surfaces come out differently each time: variations in heat make it impossible to predict the finish. Thus chance – which models and scraps happen to be available, how the heat colors the steel on a given day – turns the creative process into a sequence of discoveries. In the process, he infuses each work with a playfulness – while making it clear that he is not just playing around.

Excerpt from Lois Nesbitt’s description for the Exhibit