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'This threatening and possibly functioning object': Lee Bontecou and the Sculptural Void

Applin, J. (2006) 'This threatening and possibly functioning object': Lee Bontecou and the Sculptural Void. Art History, 29 (3). pp. 476-502. ISSN 0141-6790

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This article addresses the issues of violence, spectatorial invasion and psychic affect in the large-scale wall-mounted metal and fabric reliefs made by female sculptor Lee Bontecou in New York between 1959 and 1967. It is argued that Bontecou's work both engages with and destabilizes the sculptural encounter as it was reconfigured at that time. In tracking the shift from the phenomenological reading of how subjects encounter objects in space that was so important to minimalism, this article discusses the movement towards a psychically charged encounter that is less stable and which draws instead upon psychoanalytic readings of blindness, desire and aggression. If, during the 1960s, sculptural practice can be crudely schematized in terms of the move from specificity of objecthood to the subsequent dematerialization of the object, Bontecou's works articulate the consequences for the viewing encounter and attendant anxieties that such a shift demands.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > History of Art (York)
Depositing User: York RAE Import
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2009 16:41
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2009 16:41
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8365.2006.00510.x
Status: Published
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1467-8365.2006.00510.x
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5668

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