Press Release
FREDERICK KIESLER: SCULPTURE
9 July 2008
UPPER EAST SIDE, NEW YORK
PDF Version v

Michael Werner Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of sculptures by Frederick Kiesler (1890-1965), the visionary Austro-American artist. The exhibition will provide a rare opportunity to view three major late, large-scale works, including the artist's most important sculpture, David.

Frederick Kiesler is widely known for his deeply experimental and theory-driven work in sculpture, architecture and design, in particular the 'polydimensional'Surrealist-inspired Endless House, models of which were exhibited at New York's Museum of Modern Art in 1958 and 1959. Throughout his life Kiesler worked in a variety of media, often combining seemingly disparate elements of drawing, painting and sculpture to create entirely new manifestations of form in space. This exhibition presents three large mixed-media works, created during the last years of Kiesler's life, which exemplify his desire to create an innovative language of visual expression.

The central work in this exhibition is David, 1964-65. Executed in steel, bronze, silver and wood, this monumental piece combines human and animal forms punctuated with stark architectural elements, creating a highly active sculptural and psychological presence. Goya and Kiesler, 1963-64, and Wall Bone, 1963, embody Surrealist and Constructivist influences, integrating ideas of two-dimensional representation and concrete sculptural form. The artist's adventurous use of raw and sculpted materials and elements of naturalistic, abstract and architectural imagery results in a disorienting hybrid, neither pure painting nor pure sculpture. Kiesler's disregard for such conventional categories defines him as a thoroughly modern, forward-thinking artist whose uncommon works resonate with the art of our time in unexpected ways.

Frederick Kiesler was born in 1890 in Czernowitz in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Chernivtsi, Ukraine). Beginning in 1908 he studied at the Technische Hochschule and later at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, both in Vienna. Although he never completed his formal studies in architecture, he enjoyed success in stage and exhibition design. Kiesler collaborated with Adolf Loos in 1920, joined De Stijl in 1923, and in 1924 organized the premiere of the seminal experimental film Ballet Mécanique directed by Dudley Murphy, Fernand Léger and Man Ray and featuring a score by George Antheil. In 1926 Kiesler moved to New York City, where he lived and worked until his death in 1965. During this time he befriended Marcel Duchamp and began collaborating with the Surrealists. One of Kiesler's most famous projects was developed in 1942 when he designed furniture and exhibition rooms for Peggy Guggenheim's legendary salon, Art of This Century. Kiesler became an active champion of American avant-garde art and his extensive theoretical writings on architecture and design earned him recognition as an important figure in the development of modern architectural practice. His work has been the subject of important surveys at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1989); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1996); and most recently, The Drawing Center, New York (2008).

Frederick Kiesler: Sculpture opens July 9 and continues throughout the summer. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10 am to 6 pm. For more information please contact Jason Duval at jason@michaelwerner.com.