Art of the last 150 years can largely be seen as a continuous re-evaluation of norms and accepted practices, an extended period of cultural innovation which encouraged artists to blaze new trails—materially, formally, conceptually—on the ground established by the preceding generation. A Tradition of Revolution presents a crosssection of the Nasher Collection and the material and sculptural innovations evident within it.
“A Tradition of Revolution promises to remind us not only of the various ways artists of the past challenged traditional forms of sculpture-making, but how artists of the present have since expanded upon those once revolutionary ideas,” says Director Jeremy Strick, “It is a pleasure to see the entire Nasher Sculpture Center devoted to the permanent collection, highlighting the radical nature of these works of art, as well as suggest the inventive new directions in which sculpture is headed.” A brief selection of the works on view in A Tradition of Revolution includes Medardo Rosso’s innovative experiments with the casting process to express the sweet ephemerality of experience; the seismic shift caused by Pablo Picasso’s development of the visual language of Cubism; Naum Gabo’s use of newly developed, space-age materials expressing the technological ethos of the age and effectively dematerializing sculpture; as well as the ever finer distillation of form to its essentials beginning with Brancusi and running through Minimalism. Artists working today continue to pursue many of these developments, adding their unique, contemporary perspectives and broadening the potential meanings of the forms. Recent acquisitions by artists like Bettina Pousttchi, Phyllida Barlow, and Julian Hoeber explore this history of development and hybridization while also challenging sculpture’s material and conceptual precedents.