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Shelter Structure

1985 Norma Minkowitz Born: New York, New York 1937 cotton, acrylic paint, pencil, and shellac 8 7/8 x 11 1/2 x 10 3/4 in. (22.5 x 29.2 x 27.3 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Theodore Cohen in memory of his mother and her sisters: Rose Melmon Cohen, Blanche Melmon, Mary Melmon Greenberg and Fanny Melmon Liberman 1998.122.16 Not currently on view

Luce Center Quote

“My sculptures enclose and confine, but they also expose. While the sculpture cannot be entered, the interior is visible through the exterior, which is a meshed cage. The element of light plays an important role in viewing my work. As the light changes, so does the dominance of the outer and inner forms. They exchange places.” Artist’s statement, 2002

Luce Center Label

Shelter Structure has two distinct sections: the densely knit bottom and the transparent weblike top. Norma Minkowitz’s loose crocheting allows light to permeate the object, altering its appearance. She used shellac to stiffen the thread so that the otherwise delicate and flimsy material would hold its form. Minkowitz’s hollow works express both shelter and confinement. It is possible to peer inside her vessels through the stitching and to think of them as inviting, protective places, but her knitting also evokes the feeling of being caught inside with no way out.


decorative arts

Crafts - Fiber



plastic - acrylic

About Norma Minkowitz

Born: New York, New York 1937

More works in the collection by
Norma Minkowitz