Since 1988, Los Angeles–based sculptor Liz Larner has been committed to exploring both the physical qualities and suggestive power of an object, engaging her viewers intellectually as well as emotionally. Her ever-evolving language of abstract forms—made from diverse, often organic materials and typically comprised of contours rather than solid planes—is substantial, refined, and experimental in equal measure.
Larner’s project for the Art Institute of Chicago’s Bluhm Family Terrace brings together two recent stainless steel sculptures: the mirror-polished, low-slung X of 2013 and the vividly painted, outstretching 6 of 2010–11. These distinctive forms demonstrate the capacity of the simple, graphic character X to exceed any single meaning—indeed, to stand in for that which is as yet unknown. Each work remains literally and metaphorically open while nevertheless prompting a site-specific, real-time encounter
As an important third component of the installation, Larner has constructed an expansive wooden platform of ash from urban lumber to serve as a unifying base for both works. Visitors are invited to step onto the platform and more closely investigate the inside and the outside of the sculptures—in the case of X, viewers may enter the physical space of the form itself. This presentation not only encourages direct experience but expands and contracts space by offering an intriguing juxtaposition. The differently curving lines of both sculptures, the organic warmth of the wood platform, and the vivid colors of 6 interrupt the cool, rectangular concrete of the museum’s Modern Wing and terrace. Viewed against the backdrop of Millennium Park, the installation seems simultaneously to call out to and distinguish itself from the park’s own architecture and palette.
Sponsors This exhibition is organized by the Art Institute of Chicago with major funding from the Bluhm Family Endowment Fund, which supports exhibitions of modern and contemporary sculpture. Additional support is provided by Anne and Joseph Tabet.
2 days 21 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago OPENING TOMORROW—Jacques-Louis David’s "Napoleon"
French painter Jacques-Louis David created the quintessential image of Napoleon in 1812 and this rare loan provides occasion to highlight related works in the Art Institute's own collection as well as an interactive digital reconstruction of the artist's sketchbook
3 days 17 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago #TBT 1924: An old favorite—The Art Institute included German Shepherds as part of our crackerjack security team from the 1920s until the 1940s. Here we see guard dogs Billo and Bella posing with their handler, along with a few paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir.