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Glenstone Museum presents sculptures and drawings from each decade of Fred Sandback's career
Fred Sandback, Untitled, 1968/1983 © 2015 Fred Sandback Archive Photo: Tim Nighswander/ Courtesy: Glenstone.

POTOMAC, MD.- Beginning on September 30, 2015, and continuing through summer 2016, Glenstone in Potomac, Maryland, will devote all 9,000 square feet of the museum to an exhibition of the work of Fred Sandback (19432003), the American sculptor best known for his immersive installations made from acrylic, store-bought yarn. Fred Sandback: Light, Space, Facts will be the first solo exhibition in the Washington, DC area of the artist’s work and will explore the entire spectrum of his achievement, with drawings, wooden reliefs and steel sculptures in addition to the signature yarn installations.

Fred Sandback wrote that even though the “groundedness” of traditional sculpture appealed to him, he chose to move toward “a sculpture which became less of a thingin-itself, more of a diffuse interface between myself, my environment, and others peopling that environment, built of thin lines that left enough room to move through and around. Still sculpture, though less dense, with an ambivalence between exterior and interior. A drawing that is habitable.” In this way, the material facts of Sandback’s yarn installations are inseparable from their environments: the light and space that surround and complete them.

Greeting visitors in Glenstone’s main entrance gallery will be Broadway Boogie Woogie (Sculptural Study, Twenty-Eight Part Vertical Construction), 1991/2006, an expansive installation of red, yellow, and blue acrylic yarn made in homage to artist Piet Mondrian’s iconic painting. It will serve as a companion to another Mondrianinspired work installed nearby, titled Black Piet After P.M.: Composition with Red, Yellow, Blue. 1930. Dated 2003, this diminutive wall relief is made of black paint on plywood. Together, these pieces offer dynamically different expressions of Sandback’s admiration for Mondrian.

In addition to including several other large-scale installations from Sandback’s later career, the Glenstone exhibition will represent Sandback’s early achievements with an array of materially diverse sculptures, always applied with a startling economy of means. Pieces from the late 1960s incorporate elastic cord and steel as well as yarn. Untitled (1968/1983), for example, is a four-part sculpture in acrylic primer on thin, mild-steel rods. These works expand the prevailing discussion of sculpture during the 1960s and 1970s, then anchored in the heavy, machine-made objects associated with Minimalism. In tracing the evolution of Sandback’s work, they elegantly mine the full potential of their architectural surroundings, engaging Glenstone’s corners, floor, ceiling, and walls.

In the words of Director and Chief Curator Emily Wei Rales, “Glenstone is dedicated especially to the moments of innovation in modern and contemporary art, when a new insight changed the world’s idea of what a work of art can be. Without question, Fred Sandback was one of those breakthrough artists. Using yarn to outline geometric volumes within otherwise empty rooms, he created installations that may appear simple at first but have the power to alter your sense of where you are, creating complex, dynamic perceptions of the space all around you.”

Fred Sandback: Light, Space, Facts has been organized by Emily Wei Rales, with Anne Reeve, Assistant Curator, in collaboration with the Fred Sandback Estate. All works in the exhibition are from the Glenstone collection.

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