David Smith’s Vision
David Smith (1906-1965) is generally considered one of America’s greatest sculptors; he was also one of the most influential American artists of the 20th century. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his birth, the Guggenheim Museum in New York City has organized a major retrospective.
The exhibit, which includes more than a hundred sculptures from all periods of Smith’s career, as well as a roomful of drawings, reconfirms both Smith’s importance and the greatness of his finest work. But the show also raises questions about the various series of monumental pieces that he created in the last decade or so of his life, and in so doing points to two larger issues: the nature of Smith’s originality, and the relationship between American and European modernism.
About the Author
Steven C. Munson’s contributions to COMMENTARY include “David Smith’s Vision” (May 2006) and “Inside the New MOMA” (February 2005).