Artwork Detail

Spatial Concept, New York 22
Italian, b. Argentina, 1899–1968
Incised and perforated sheet brass
52 1/8 x 25 1/8 x 7/8 "
Gift of Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., 1967
WU 4372
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome
In the late 1940s and early 1950s the Italian artist Lucio Fontana began slashing and puncturing his canvases, moving beyond the realm of two dimensions by actually opening his works up to the third dimension of real space. Fontana referred to this form of creative destruction as spatialismo (spatialism)—a process that, he claimed, would incorporate the third and fourth dimension, bringing time, movement, and speed into the previously limited domain of artistic illusionism. The vertically stacked perforations and incisions in the brass surface of this work may evoke the glass and metal skyscrapers of New York, which the artist first visited in 1961. The gashes and scrapes echo the expressive gestures of abstract painting, particularly art informel—gestures that embody both process and motion. [Permanent collection label, 2016]