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John McQueen

Untitled #192
1989
burdock burrs and applewood
22 1/4 x 18 x 20 3/4 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the James Renwick Alliance

John McQueen's baskets and containers are sophisticated rearrangements of natural forms. Untitled #192 is a massive basketlike piece composed of burrs—prickly seed carriers from plants that stick to clothing or animal fur—and applewood twigs to suggest something not so much created but found by chance. This piece seems so natural that it is hard to think of it as made by a human being. McQueen is fascinated by the organic, free-form qualities of plants. His gift as an artist is to reveal the uncommon in what we take for granted.