Modern and Contemporary Art

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Large Wall, 1968

DeWain Valentine

American, 1936-
Cast polyester resin
91-1/4 x 94 x 17-1/2 in. (231.8 x 238.8 x 44.5 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of the Artist
P.1969.121

Not on view

DeWain Valentine’s Large Wall, from 1968, was the largest cast-resin piece created up until that point. Because Valentine was unaware of the amount of pressure the work would exert on the walls of his mold, the structure began to break apart during the pour. Fortunately, Larry Bell, who worked in the studio next door, had come over to complain about the toxic fumes, only to find Valentine struggling to keep the mold together. Together they managed to reinforce it, resulting in a monument to the atmosphere of sea and sky that Valentine had wanted to capture. Its transparency and scale also reflect his pursuit of sculpture that becomes, as he put it, “involved with both the inside space and the outside space or surface—where most sculpture visually stops.” For Valentine, the pristine surface of his sculptures, in conjunction with their transparency, encouraged a look at, in and through the work. In short, they fuse sculpture and space.

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