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Lee Bontecou is Frightening

Lee Bontecou’s futuristic and ominous works are at once painting and sculpture. Made from steel frames and recycled canvas (like conveyor belts and mail sacks, rather than fine artist’s canvas), the pieces (although non-representational) feel a little bit scary, sort of like space-age machines or weapons, while also having an organic feel. To stand in front of one of her reliefs is a little unsettling, which is a lot to say for just canvas and steel.


The piece in the lobby of the David H. Koch theater at Lincoln Center was commissioned when the entire complex was built for the 1964-1965 World’s Fair. Simply called “1964,” the piece was made during the height of Bontecou’s production, while she was showing at the famous Leo Castelli Gallery. Bontecou continued to create her sculptural paintings into the 1970s, but then disappeared from the art world in the 1980s. The art world may have been to much for her, because since the early 80s she has lived in the tiny Orbisonia, Pennsylvania, whose population is just 428.

Who: Lee Bontecou

What: 1964

Where: David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center

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  1. […] the State Theater lobby. So interesting to see what it does to the space. As you pop in see the Lee Bontecou piece, with the deep-set “eye” that light have been a formal […]

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