‘David Smith’s sculptures are—big or small, figurative or abstract—very complete, very attentive to your presence. They’re generous; they have no boring views. Circle them as you may, they are never napping. They present a total attention, and they are telling you that that is the way to be: on guard.’ …….. Frank O’Hara, 1964
One of the most influential and innovative artists of the 20th Century, and the sculptor most closely associated with the abstract expressionist movement, David Smith (1906 – 1965) was at his most experimental and prolific in the last five years of his life. During this period, he created approximately a third of his sculptural oeuvre. He deployed welding to newly monumental ends, integrated open space into his arrangement of planar forms and animated sculptural surfaces with paint in color combinations that transcended logic—all innovations that transgressed the norm, solidified his legacy and impacted generations of artists to come. In their sheer variety, Smith’s late works are nevertheless united by a single shared characteristic: blazing, liberated inventiveness.
Opening 1 February, ‘No One Thing. David Smith, Late Sculptures’ at Hauser & Wirth’s 22nd Street gallery presents seven of the artist’s most important sculptures from these final years. The title of the exhibition, curated by Alexis Lowry, pays homage to the legendary artist’s radical versatility, stylistic ingenuity and experimental spirit. As Smith said in 1951, ‘My reality…is not one thing; it is a chain of interlocking visions.’