Tony Smith: Bronze, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, NY

Tony Smith, Trap, 1968
Cast bronze, black patina
10 x 55 x 55 inches

November 6 – December 23, 2010

Matthew Marks is pleased to announce Tony Smith: Bronze, the next exhibition in his gallery at 523 West 24th Street.

Smith executed the nine sculptures included in this exhibition between 1960 and 1970. This selection of his works in bronze, all of them finished in his signature black patina, provides a comprehensive view of his mature sculptural practice over the course of the 1960s.

Best known for his monumental black-painted steel sculptures composed of complex arrangements and combinations of classical geometric forms, Tony Smith would often make smaller bronze versions of his large-scale outdoor sculptures. Nearly all the sculptures in this exhibition were also realized as monumental painted steel works. Large versions of three of the works in the exhibition, The Snake Is Out (1962), Wall (1964), and Generation (1965), were included in the artist’s first one-person exhibition in 1966 at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut.

Smith came to sculpture late in life. Born in 1912, he supported himself and his family as an architect for twenty years but began to focus on painting in the mid-1950s, turning to sculpture later in the decade. Smith began work on the earliest piece in this exhibition, Cross, in 1960, two years before he made Die, a 6’ steel cube that established his reputation as one of the most influential and important artists of his time. Cross can be understood as a link between his architectural and sculptural practices. The sculpture’s arrangement of six cubes located at the vertices of three intersecting rhombi resembles two perpendicular church crosses with a shared vertical stem. One of Smith’s final architectural projects was an unrealized plan for a church that was to have stained-glass panels designed in collaboration with his friend, Jackson Pollock.

The Menil Collection, Houston, will open Tony Smith: Drawings, an exhibition of rarely shown works on paper drawn from private and public collections, on December 17, 2010. It will remain on view through April 3, 2011.