John Newman
American, born 1952
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Collected by major museums
Tate, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Selected exhibitions
2017
The Little of our Earthly Trust—Guache Drawings by John Newman,
Arion Press
2016
John Newman: Spoonfuls,
Tibor de Nagy
2015
The Musical Box,
Jeff Bailey Gallery

Inspired by travels to Japan, Africa, and especially India, John Newman’s small and colorful abstract sculptures conjure images of fantastical sea creatures and shells with traces of assemblage, ceramics, and even jewelry. The wide range of materials the works encompass, from glass to tulle to stones, lends them a coarse texture, while their witty titles imbue a sense of playfulness. Newman is known for marrying elements of contemporary art with classical traditions and emotional content, a style born out of musings prompted by his mother’s death. “How can I make something that can bridge both the intellectually engaged formal rigor,” he asks, “and my desire to embrace and elicit an emotion without irony or without merely depending upon art historical precedence, to tackle something that [is] real?”