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Process and Materiality in Art at the Mid Twentieth Century

February 19, 2002 – February 23, 2003

This selection of works from the Guggenheim collections emphasizes the post-World War II phenomenon of using non-traditional materials and practices in art production. With increasing frequency, after 1945 artists turned to the realm outside the two-dimensional plane of the canvas to incorporate vernacular elements, exalting "lowly" materials. This tendency can be seen in the present installation, which includes examples of Arte Povera by Jannis Kounellis and Mario Merz, and works of Process art by Joseph Beuys, Robert Morris, and Richard Serra, underlining the use of impoverished materials in art over the last thirty years. Here Beuys is represented with his monumental work created shortly before his death Lightning with Stag in its Glare (Blitzschlag mit Lichtschein auf Hirsch, 1953–85) newly acquired by the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

Under:
Richard Serra
Snake, 1994–97
Weathering steel, 3 units, each comprised of 2 conical sections
Each section: 4 x 15.85 m; overall: 4 x 31.7 x 7.84 m; plate thickness: 5 cm
Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa


On top:
Mario Merz
Niger Crocodile (Coccodrillo del Niger), 1972 (1989)
Stuffed crocodile, metal, and neon tubes
Dimensions variable
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York
Gift of the artist, 1989. 89.3630.a-.e

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