The Menil Collection

Lee Bontecou: Drawn Worlds, A Retrospective of Drawings by Lee Bontecou, January 31 - May 11, 2014

Thursday, March 14, 2013

“Lee Bontecou: Drawn Worlds” is the first retrospective exhibition of the drawings of American artist Lee Bontecou. Born in 1931, the works selected span more than five decades of Bontecou’s career, from the late 1950s, when she began her innovative works on paper with welding torch and soot as a drawing tool and medium while studying in Rome as a Fulbright Scholar, to the work that is ongoing in her Pennsylvania studio. Like her sculptures, which are made primarily of welded steel, canvas, porcelain, and vacuum-formed plastic, her drawings highlight the ingenuity and bravura of her experiments with materials and ways of creating and making spatial form. “Lee Bontecou: Drawn Worlds,” is curated by Michelle White for The Menil Collection, and will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with new scholarly texts. The exhibition will travel to The Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, New Jersey, in late spring of 2014.

The New Yorker

Lee Bontecou, Goings on About Town: Art

February 7, 2012

The great, uncategorizable American sculptor, now eighty-one, continues to surprise and enchant.  Dirigible-like forms hang from the ceiling, dangling beaded tails. Two sandboxes, of the type the artist uses in her Pennsylvania studio to experiment with the arrangement of objects – feathers, shells, animal skeletons fashioned from porcelain, serpentine forms made of mesh- are being exhibited here for the first time.

The Wall Street Journal

Abstract (Semi) and Phantasmagorical, by Peter Plagens

December 24, 2011

The centerpieces of this gallery exhibition are four hanging sculptures, each about a yard long, that look like amalgams of clipper ships and jellyfish. They’re ingeniously balanced with hanging fishing weights of different sizes and shapes. The nice touch of dirtying up the rear surfaces of the mobiles’ “sails” adds to their feeling of soaring optimistically through the air. But the nicest touch is simply Ms. Bontecou’s matchless deftness in combining volumetric and linear form to wring an awful lot of emotive response from nothing but untitled things.

The New Criterion

Gallery Chronicle: Lee Bontecou, by James Panero

February 1, 2012

Finally this month offers up our last chance to see the art world’s original alternative in her current show.  Lee Bontecou always refused to be taken in.  After bursting onto the scene in the 1960’s with her singular and haunting wall sculptures of layered canvases, often stitched around gaping voids, she retreated entirely from public view.  Yet she never stopped making art.  Now in her eighties, she is as inventive and singular as ever.  Her exhibition of drawings and sculptures on view at FreedmanArt through February 11 is not to be missed.

The New York Times

Art in Review: Lee Bontecou, by Ken Johnson

December 15, 2011

Now 80, Lee Bontecou has traveled a long way since her militaristic reliefs of bent rods, wire and canvas made her famous in the late 1950s and ’60s. In subsequent decades she traded brutalist confrontation for formal delicacy and mental travel into fabulous other universes.

The Village Voice

Best in Show: Lee Bontecou at FreedmanArt, by Robert Shuster

November 9, 2011

For more than half a century, Lee Bontecou has been peering into the cosmos. Her famously imposing three-dimensional vortexes of the early 1960s—grungy swaths of canvas stitched onto spiraling armatures—grabbed your attention with the gravitational strength of black holes.

ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe, Germany

Lee Bontecou: Insights, ZKM

May 27th, 2011

For the first time in thirty years and to mark the occasion of her 80th birthday, the work of US-American artist Lee Bontecou is to be honored by an exhibition held at the ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art. The exhibition provides insights into the Bontecou’s innovative work of the 1960s.


Lee Bontecou at FreedmanArt, by Barbara Pollack

January 1, 2012

Sailing into the future with a fleet of fantastic mobiles , this magnificent exhibition would indicate that Lee Bontecou has no intention of slowing down.  The works here are at once delicate and powerful, modernist and contemporary, serene and frightening.  It is a difficult balance, but Bontecou handles the contradictions with a masterful use of unconventional materials.