About This Artwork

H. C. Westermann
American, 1922-1981

Angry Young Machine, 1959

Pine, plywood, galvanized iron pipe and fittings, faucet handle, cast-lead soldier, aluminum alkyd enamel, and wheels
228 x 68.3 x 71.8 cm (89 1/2 x 26 7/8 x 28 1/4 in.)

Restricted gift of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin A. Bergman, 1975.132

Art © Estate of Lester Beall / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

H. C. Westermann, who lived and worked in Chicago between 1947 and 1961, was a skilled woodworker known for sculptures that masquerade as uncanny yet playful versions of vernacular objects. Utilizing assemblages of commercial materials and found objects, the artist’s technically sophisticated, influential sculptures address recurring themes such as war, technology, and science fiction. Angry Young Machine was created after the artist viewed films based on John Osborne’s plays; the author was an influential member of the “Angry Young Men,” an antiestablishment group of English writers in the 1950s. Galvanized plumbing pipes and fixtures, a small skyscraper, a tiny toy soldier guarding an ornamental bridge, and a pair of bright red lips that refer to the local rug company Magikist make up the body of this iconic work.

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