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art prolific

Assemblage (art)

Assemblage is an artistic process in which a three-dimensional artistic composition is made from putting together found objects.

The origin of the word (in its artistic sense) can be traced back to the early 1950s, when Jean Dubuffet created a series of collages of butterfly wings, which he titled assemblages d'empreintes. However, both Marcel Duchamp and Pablo Picasso had been working with found objects for many years prior to Dubuffet. They were not alone, alongside Duchamp the earliest woman artist to try her hand at assemblage was Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, the Dada Baroness, and one of the most prolific, as well as producing some of the most exciting early examples, was Louise Nevelson, who began creating her sculptures from found pieces of wood in the late 1930s.

In 1961, the exhibition "The Art of Assemblage" was featured at the New York Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition showcased the work of early twentieth century European artists such as Braque, Dubuffet, Marcel Duchamp, Picasso, and Kurt Schwitters alongside Americans Man Ray, Joseph Cornell and Robert Rauschenberg, and also included less well known American West Coast assemblage artists such as Wallace Berman, Bruce Conner and Edward Kienholz. William C Seitz, the curator of the exhibition, described assemblages as being made up of preformed natural or manufactured materials, objects, or fragments not intended as art materials.

Artists primarily known for assemblage

  • Louise Nevelson. Nevelson (1899 - 1988), an American artist, is known for her abstract expressionist “boxes” grouped together to form a new creation. She used found objects or everyday discarded things in her “assemblages” or assemblies, one of which was three stories high.
  • Joseph Cornell. Cornell (1903 - 1972), who lived in New York City, is known for his delicate boxes, usually glass-fronted, in which he arranged surprising collections of objects, images of renaissance paintings and old photographs. Many of his boxes, such as the famous Medici Slot Machine boxes, are interactive and are meant to be handled.
  • John Chamberlain (b. 1927) is a Chicago artist known for his sculptures of welded pieces of wrecked automobiles.
  • Robert H. Hudson (born 1938), an American artist
  • Minoru Ohira (born 1950), a Japanese-born artist
  • Edward Kienholz (1927 - 1994), an American artist collaborating with his wife, Nancy Reddin Kienholz, created free-standing, large-scale "tableaux" or scenes of modern life such as the Beanery, complete with models of persons, made of discarded objects.
  • Fred H. Roster (born 1944), an American sculptor
  • Daniel Spoerri. Spoerri (b. 1930), a Swiss artist, is known for his "snare pictures" in which he captures a group of objects, such as the remains of meals eaten by individuals, including the plates, silverware and glasses, all of which are fixed to the table or board, which is then displayed on a wall.

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