Frederick Kiesler’s “David” at Michael Werner, East Hampton. New York

Opening 9 December

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For winter, Michael Werner Gallery in East Hampton will present David, the most important sculpture by visionary Austro-American artist, architect, and theoretician Frederick Kiesler (1890-1965).

Kiesler theorized that “sculpture, painting, architecture should not be used as wedges to split our experience of art and life; they are here to link, to correlate, to bind dream and reality.” “David” was created towards the end of Kiesler’s life and is the perfect embodiment of this theory. In this monumental sculpture, the artist works with steel, bronze, silver, and wood. He combines architectural elements with human and animal forms.

Kiesler was born in 1890 in Czernowitz in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Chernivtsi, Ukraine). Beginning in 1908 he studied at the Technische Hochschule and later at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, both in Vienna. Although he never completed his formal studies in architecture, he enjoyed success in stage and exhibition design. Kiesler collaborated with Adolf Loos in 1920, joined De Stijl in 1923, and in 1924 organized the premiere of the seminal experimental film Ballet Mécanique directed by Dudley Murphy, Fernand Léger and Man Ray and featuring a score by George Antheil. In 1926 Kiesler moved to New York City, where he lived and worked until his death in 1965. During this time, he befriended Marcel Duchamp and began collaborating with the Surrealists. One of Kiesler’s most famous projects was developed in 1942 when he designed furniture and exhibition rooms for Peggy Guggenheim’s legendary salon, Art of This Century. Kiesler became an active champion of American avant-garde art and his extensive theoretical writings on architecture and design defined him as an important figure in the development of modern architectural practice. His work has been the subject of important surveys at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1989); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1996); The Drawing Center, New York (2008); and Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin (2017).

Frederick Kiesler’s David will be on view beginning Thursday, 9 December. Our East Hampton gallery is open Thursday through Sunday from 11am to 5pm. The safety of our staff and visitors is our top priority. We ask that you respect social distancing guidelines and wear a mask at all times.

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