Acquired 1964
Lee Bontecou

American, born 1931

Untitled, 1960

Steel, canvas, and copper wire
72 x 72 x 18 inches

While studying in Rome on a Fulbright Fellowship, Lee Bontecou learned to weld the steel frames that became the basis of her acclaimed three-dimensional work. In 1959 she incorporated canvas that she salvaged from used conveyor belts discarded by a neighboring laundry, inaugurating a body of monumental wall reliefs. In Untitled fragments of natural canvas and burlap are tautly stretched and attached with wire to an armature and welded framework. Every element seems directed toward the deep, velvet-lined opening, which suggests geographic and biological references, such as a volcano, a black hole, or an anatomical orifice. Untitled was originally exhibited in the artist’s one-person exhibition at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York; Bontecou was one of only two women given one-person exhibitions there during this period.