Sky Cathedral

Media - 1994.85A-AA - SAAM-1994.85A-AA_1 - 11941
Copied Louise Nevelson, Sky Cathedral, 1982, painted wood, overall: 104 38288 3815 34 in. (265.1732.540.0 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of an anonymous donor, 1994.85A-AA

Artwork Details

Sky Cathedral
overall: 104 38288 3815 34 in. (265.1732.540.0 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of an anonymous donor
Mediums Description
painted wood
  • Nonrepresentational
  • Abstract
Object Number

Artwork Description

Can you identify any of the everyday objects in the black field of Sky Cathedral?

Louise Nevelson was an avid collector of objects, and she assembled various found wooden scraps--table legs, bannisters, rolling pins, milk crates, moldings, and other architectural fragments--to create her sculptures.

Although it's possible to see the shapes and outlines of these elements, they are absorbed into the large, uniformly painted black wall. Nevelson aimed to create a spiritual experience out of everyday objects, transforming them from the material to the immaterial. Sky Cathedral evokes what Nevelson called "the heavenly spheres, the places between the land and the sea" that lie beyond our experience of ordinary things.