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Westermann's Table

1966 H. C. Westermann Born: Los Angeles, California 1922 Died: Danbury, Connecticut 1981 Douglas-fir plywood, Masonite, leather-bound books, bolt, brass nut, paint, and graphite 44 x 23 x 23 1/2 in. (111.8 x 58.4 x 59.7 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment 2002.51 Not currently on view


Gallery Label

Westermann was a short, muscular veteran of World War II and Korea whose comic sculptures showed his anger at America's militarism and the lies of politicians. In Westermann's Table, institutional gray paint coats the leaves of books on state laws and clipper ships, and a large bolt secures the volumes, suggesting a locked-down history of the nation. The pressure of the bolt squeezes the books into the plywood pedestal, creating a surreal portrait of the artist as an angry and well-informed man ready to explode.

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006

Keywords

Object - furniture - table

Object - written matter - book

sculpture

fiberboard - masonite

paint

pencil - graphite

readymade - book

readymade - hardware

wood - fir

About H. C. Westermann

Born: Los Angeles, California 1922 Died: Danbury, Connecticut 1981