June 23, 2021

Bruce Beasley’s 60-Year Retrospective on Display at Grounds for Sculpture

Arpeggio III, a 12-foot-tall bronze from 2005, is by Bruce Beasley, whose 60-year retrospective is at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey, through January 9. It’s the California-based artist’s first solo museum exhibition on the East Coast. Photography by Ken Ek/courtesy of Bruce Beasley.

Bruce Beasley was a 22-year-old undergrad at UC, Berkeley when he hit the big-time: His scrap-iron sculpture Tree House was featured in “The Art of Assemblage,” a 1961 group show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. (The next year, MoMA acquired his Chorus, making Beasley the youngest artist in the museum’s permanent collection.) Over the decades, he continued to break new ground, conceiving arrangements in such mediums as stainless steel, granite, and cast acrylic—the process he used for the latter adapted by the U.S. Navy for deep-sea exploration—from simple shapes that celebrate form and the complexity of human emotion. “Nature remains the ideal guide and the great resource,” Beasley has said. On the eve of his 82nd birthday, he partners with nature and unveils work in yet another medium for “Bruce Beasley: Sixty Year Retrospective, 1960-2020,” at Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey. Outside, eight of his large-scale works dot the institution’s 42 acres. Inside are his latest collages on canvas, a first for the sculptor, along with his Tree House that started it all.

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