Tubing Form

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  • Provenance

    Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago

  • Catalogue Essay

    Born 1935, Chicago, IL
    Lives and works in Chicago

    1957 BAE, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

    Selected honors: Lifetime Achievement Award (2009); Hoffman Prize (2005); Logan Prize (1956, 1961, and 1962); Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (1962-1963)
    Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, Saginaw Valley State University, Saginaw, MI; San Antonio Botanical Gardens, San Antonio, TX
    Selected public collections: The Art Institute of Chicago; Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, California; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois; Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York; National Gallery, Washington, DC; National Museum of Israel, Jerusalem, Israel; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York

    One of the most accomplished American metal sculptors of the past century, Richard Hunt was the first African-American sculptor to have a major solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1971. This was the crowning moment of Hunt’s rise to critical acclaim. Having encountered the work of Julio González in 1953, Hunt taught himself to weld sculpture within two years and by the late 1950s was exhibiting his work nationwide and sold his first work to MoMA while still a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1962, he was the youngest artist to exhibit at Seattle’s World Fair and received the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship.

    Executed in 1966, Tubing Form is an important early sculpture that perfectly encapsulates Hunt’s distinct sculptural practice. Viewed as an outgrowth of Hunt’s mixture of urban upbringing with his family’s rural roots in the south and Midwest, his sculptures blend natural and architectonic forms. As he explained in the same year as he created the work, "In some works it is my intention to develop the kind of forms Nature might create if only heat and steel were available to her.” The works Hunt created in the 1960s and 1970s are predominantly made from the materials readily available in car junkyards. Welded bumpers and fenders are transformed into Hunt's abstract creations that make frequent references to plant, human, and animal forms. “One of the central themes in my work is the reconciliation of the organic and the industrial,” he explained. “I see my work as forming a kind of bridge between what we experience in nature and what we experience from the urban, industrial, technology-driven society we live in. I like to think that within the work . . . there is a resolution of the tensions between the sense of freedom one has in contemplating nature and the sometimes restrictive, closed feeling engendered by the rigors of the city.” Even now, at age 83, Hunt continues to create work: “One of the things that keeps me going is sculptural inertia. Having made sculpture for so long, I tend to keep making it. Being a professional sculptor is an interesting combination of a work life and an intellectual life that are mutually stimulating.”


Tubing Form

inscribed "R. Hunt 66" near the base
36 x 44 x 40 in. (91.4 x 111.8 x 101.6 cm.)
Executed in 1966.

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New York Selling Exhibition 10 January - 8 February 2019