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Cocoon I

ca. 1960-1969 Lee Bontecou Born: Providence, Rhode Island 1931 mixed media: fabric, wood, copper wire, shellac and ink 9 7/8 x 3 3/4 x 4 1/8 in. (25.1 x 9.6 x 10.5 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of the Woodward Foundation 1976.108.21 Not currently on view

Luce Center Label

Cocoon I and Cocoon II are two of several small wooden sculptures that Lee Bontecou made in the 1960s. She states that her works are “about space, or adventure, or freedom of one kind or another.” In many cultures, cocoons are associated with transformation and rebirth. Inspired by natural organic forms, these sculptures were transitional pieces between the artist’s large, dark relief canvases and her later, environmentally conscious works. They grew out of Bontecou’s experiences constructing small model airplanes from balsa wood. Resembling both a cocoon and an airplane model, each sculpture underscores the fragile relationship between technology and nature.





metal - wire


About Lee Bontecou

Born: Providence, Rhode Island 1931

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Lee Bontecou