Before finding himself as an artist, John Chamberlain first traveled in the US Navy and worked as a hairdresser. Some might suggest that is an unconventional mix, but one might also argue that of Chamberlain's sculpture.
After studying at the Art Institute of Chicago and Black Mountain College (where he was influenced by poets Charles Olsen, Robert Creeley, and Robert Duncan), Chamberlain landed in New York. The year was 1956. Chamberlain dove into making sculpture utilizing car metal. Some people saw his work depiction of car crashes. But, there was much more.
Influenced by abstract expressionist painters, Chamberlain's creative re-use of materials was all about shape and color. Forming, in essence, a language more about appearance than definition. In short, Chamberlain transferred the tenets of abstract painting to three dimensional sculpture.
Though organized prior to his death on December 21, 2011, this retrospective exhibition acknowledges Chamberlain's legacy with heartfelt remembrance.
John Chamberlain: Choices opened this past weekend. The exhibition continues through May 13, 2012, at Guggenheim.
Photography by Ana Bravo for Complex.