Lee Bontecou
American, born 1931, Providence, Rhode Island; lives Orbisonia, Pennsylvania
Stacks Image 4867
Untitled, 1966
Painted iron, fiberglass and fabric
41 in. x 29 in. x 8 in. (104.14 cm x 73.66 cm x 20.32 cm) No frame
Gift of Leo Castelli, Castelli Galleries
Lee Bontecou first earned attention in the early 1960s for sculptures that incorporated a range of materials—including metal, canvas, denim, tarpaulin, epoxy and fiberglass.  Her wall reliefs, all of which are untitled, offer many dualities, including their ability to be viewed simultaneously as painting and sculpture. This work belongs to a group of painted metal compositions comprising Bontecou’s Prison series.  It was constructed at a time when the artist was attaching conveyor belts and discarded canvas from the laundry underneath her Lower East Side New York City studio to metal frames.  The deep voids and menacing elements in Bontecou’s sculpture are associated with the artist’s coming to age during World War II and habit of listening to Cold War era short wave radio broadcasts as she worked. Her materials are industrial, but the sculptures also have human references, with round holes suggesting orifices and garment racks rows of teeth. These features appear confined or entrapped by the taut flattened surface and the black and white stripes are akin to prison apparel—characteristics shared with other sculptures Bontecou was making at this time.  

From 1960 to 1974, Lee Bontecou  exhibited with Leo Castelli in New York City. Castelli donated Untitled to the Akron Art Museum and a similar, larger sculpture by the artist to New York’s Guggenheim Museum.
A related work at the Akron Art Museum
Louise Nevelson
American, born 1899, Kiev, Russia; died 1988, New York
Stacks Image 5522
The Fugue, 1985
Painted wood
49 ¾ x 39 x 9 in.
Collection of the Akron Art Museum, Gift of the American Art Foundation in memory of Louis S. Myers  1996.6
A related work at the Akron Art Museum
Jackie Winsor
American, born 1941, St. John’s Island, Newfoundland; lives New York
Stacks Image 7616
#2 Copper, 1976
Wood and copper
34 ½ x 51 x 51 in.
Collection of the Akron Art Museum, Purchased, by exchange, with funds from Mr. and Mrs. Raymond C. Firestone  1983.4