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Survey of the MFAH's Metal Collection Opens March 2010
HOUSTON, TX.- 30 contemporary metal works will be on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in Liquid Lines: Exploring the Language of Contemporary Metal. Organized by Cindi Strauss, MFAH curator of modern and contemporary decorative arts and design, the exhibition explores the varied ways that contemporary artists have manipulated metal to highlight the fluid properties of the material. Works on view range from furniture and vases to avant-garde jewelry and sculptural installations, all from the museum´s permanent collection.

"The MFAH´s modern and contemporary collections lend themselves beautifully to inter-departmental exhibitions," said Dr. Peter C. Marzio, MFAH director. "Liquid Lines celebrates the depth and range of vision achieved by artists, craftsmen, and designers working with metal."

"The strength and value of metal has inspired artists for centuries, and in recent decades, contemporary artists have continued to investigate new ways to work with the material," said curator Cindi Strauss. "Liquid Lines showcases exciting works, created between 1969 and 2008, that have emerged on the international, modern market. Whether ornamental, sculptural, or functional, all the objects on view demonstrate innovative aesthetic principles."

To create the objects included in the show, the artists have applied diverse techniques—such as casting, constructing, forging, and hand-raising—to a variety of metals, including bronze, iron, silver, steel, wire, or found objects. The exhibition includes works by Ron Arad, Chunghi Choo, Georg Dobler, Arline Fisch, Gego, Joseph Havel, Bruce Metcalf, Albert Paley, Hiroshi Suzuki, Tone Vigeland, and Jonathan Wahl.

One of the smallest works on view is by a renowned master of contemporary jewelry, Swiss artist Max Fröhlich. His silver Ring (1992) relates to geometric abstraction, a concept that he began exploring during his education at the Zurich art school Kunstgewerbeschule. Placing an emphasis on unadorned form, the ring features a swirled and bent circular structure, remarkable for its pure, geometric shape. Fröhlich´s ring will be shown with other international jewelry from the MFAH´s Helen Williams Drutt Collection as well as with gifts from other donors.

German artist Georg Dobler´s "Atomic Energy" Brooch (1988) is one of many works that emerged from a fifteen-year period in which the artist created jewelry by soldering steel wire together. The artist´s original intent was to create symbol-less structures of intersecting lines, but this later work—which resembles a spun-together ball—reflects how the artist´s concentration evolved towards natural, organic shapes.

Other highlights on view include the electro-formed silver Vase (1985) by Korean-American artist Chunghi Choo; the captivating Narrow Paparadelle Chair (designed 1992, made 1994) by Israeli designer Ron Arad, which resembles unraveling ribbon tumbling to the floor, but functions as a chair with ´carpet´-footrest; and the sculpture Reticulárea (1975), an interwoven web of wires by Venezuelan sculptor and architect Gego.

Museum of Fine Arts | Liquid Lines | Cindi Strauss |




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