Leo Amino with Jacob Lawrence (far left), Josef and Anni Albers (far right) and faculty, Black Mountain College, 1946
David Zwirner is pleased to present The Visible and the Invisible, an exhibition of work by the Japanese American sculptor Leo Amino (1911–1989) curated by Genji Amino, director of the Leo Amino Estate. On view at the 537 West 20th Street location in New York, the exhibition will feature a range of the artist’s work from the 1940s to the 1980s, including previously unseen sculptures and works on paper from the artist’s estate.
Born in Taiwan under the auspices of Japanese colonial rule and educated in Tokyo, Amino immigrated to the United States as a young man in 1929. During the second Sino-Japanese and World Wars, Amino became disillusioned with both Japanese and American nationalist traditions, seeing the provincialism and conformity they encouraged as anathema to the spirit of modernity. Amino shared a resolutely anti-conformist and anti-traditionalist philosophy with the exiles and refugees of the Bauhaus. Like fellow experimentalists of his generation Josef Albers and Ad Reinhardt, Amino was initially recognized by the cooperative Artists’s Gallery, where he received his first solo exhibition in 1940.
After several one-man shows in New York, Amino was invited by Albers to join the faculty of Black Mountain College in the summer of 1946, two years after the college’s integration, where he taught alongside the Albserses, Jacob Lawrence, and Walter Gropius, and informed the education of students Ruth Asawa, Kenneth Noland, and Harry Seidler, among others. The college’s experimental approach to media, embodied in Anni Albers’s notion of “work with material,” spoke to Amino’s vision for a modern sculpture in which aesthetic and technical experiments were inseparable. He is one of three faculty of color to teach at Black Mountain during the history of the Summer Arts Sessions.
Image: Leo Amino at the opening for his 1971 exhibition Leo Amino: “Refractional” Plastic Sculpture 1945-1970, Sculpture Center, New York (detail)
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