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The World Outside: Louise Nevelson at Midcentury
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A deep dive into the life and work of sculptor Louise Nevelson recontextualizes her art in light of social movements, travel, and her experiences in dance and theater
Known for her monumental wooden wall pieces and outdoor sculptures, Louise Nevelson (1899–1988) was a towering figure in twentieth-century American art. A more nuanced picture of Nevelson emerges in The World Outside: Louise Nevelson at Midcentury. Discussions about Nevelson’s early involvement with modern dance and subsequent immersion in avant-garde theater bring new understandings of her drawings and sculptures. A reframing of her travels to Mexico and Guatemala in the early 1950s demonstrates, for the first time, how colonial archaeology haunted her visual language for decades.
Other little-known facets of Nevelson’s life—her interest in folk art, architecture, and period furniture—open up a conversation about the artist’s approach to America’s past material culture. A pioneering examination of Nevelson’s printmaking experiences at Tamarind Lithography Workshop reveals how the artist created alternative modes of viewing through unconventional methods and materials. The book also reconsiders Nevelson’s work in the context of the environmental movement. Additionally, three contemporary artists relate Nevelson’s role in their careers and lives, a local expert describes her roots and relationship to Maine, and the artist’s granddaughter shares thoughts on Nevelson’s spirituality.
Distributed for the Amon Carter Museum of American Art

Exhibition Schedule

Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, TX
(August 27, 2023–January 7, 2024)

Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, ME
(February 6–June 9, 2024)

About the Author

Shirley Reece-Hughes is curator of paintings, sculpture, and works on paper at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, TX.