(American, 1923 - 2013)
Stainless steel with lights, pine trees and painted metal tree
32 x 60 x 155 ft.
Chazen Museum of Art; Anonymous Fund, Elvehjem Museum of Art General Endowment Fund, Harry and Margaret P. Glicksman Endowment Fund, Cyril W. Nave Endowment Fund, and John H. Van Vleck Endowment Fund purchase, 1991.12
Generations’s meaning is open ended to the viewer. To some it may symbolize growth or evolution through life. Others may anthropomorphize the objects and consider generations in their own family. In either interpretation Generations remains familiar. Artschwager’s use of architectural and seemingly ordinary structures makes Generations appear to be timeless, inherent to the site.
Artschwager, an internationally renowned painter and sculptor, glides through standard art historical categories of Pop, Minimalism, and Conceptualism, transcending their boundaries. His bodies of work are divergent, but he is best known for turning vernacular household objects on their head. This results in enigmatic objects that appear simultaneously familiar yet strange. During his lifetime, Artschwager received two major retrospectives at the Whitney Museum of American Art, one in 1988 and the second in 2012. Between 1990 and 1991 he worked intimately with a public sculpture committee at the Elvehjem Museum of Art, now the Chazen Museum of Art, to conceptualize and execute Generations, a site-specific installation.
Generations is located outside the Conrad A. Elvehjem Building at the intersection of University Avenue and East Campus Mall.
Celant, Germano, Herbert Muschamp, and Russell Panczenko. “Richard Artschwager: PUBLIC (public).” exhibition catalogue, Elvehjem Museum of Art, 1991.
Gross, Jennifer R. Richard Artschwager! New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2012.