Norman Carlberg

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Norman Carlberg
Born 1928
Known for Sculpture
Movement modular constructivism

Norman Carlberg (born 1928) is an American sculptor and printmaker. He is noted as an exemplar of the modular constructivist style.

Carlberg was born in Roseau, Minnesota. He studied at the Minneapolis School of Art and at the University of Illinois before going on to study under Josef Albers at Yale. "Recent Sculpture USA", a 1959 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, featured Carlberg's work. Afterwards, Carlberg taught briefly (1960–61) in Santiago, Chile. In 1961, he was named director of the Rinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore. He taught at MICA until 1996. According to marylandartsource.com, Carlberg's sculptures are in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Art and Architecture Gallery at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, the Hirshhorn Museum, the Guggenheim Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Art.

He collaborated with important architects on major public projects, such as the Riverside Centre, designed by Harry Seidler and Associates in Brisbane, Australia. According to the description of Riverside Centre at the firm's website, the main lobby is fifteen meters in height and "the surrounding floors become mezzanines overlooking this space which has a large centrally placed sculpture by Carlberg and tapestries by Calder." For images, see the "External links" section.[citation needed]

Style: Modular constructivism, minimalism[edit]

Carlberg has written: "My style of sculpture represents the movement known as 'Modular constructivism', which grew into its maturity and popularity in the 50's and 60's.". The "modular" aspect of Carlberg's constructions is often readily apparent to the eye. Carlberg discussed Modular constructivism with art critic Brian Sherwin, stating, "My sense of it is that "Modular" constructivism is making a work of art within the limitations that modules impose on the object. They restrict what can be made but the restrictions also give meaning and value to the object, just as a poem is beautiful, in part, because the rules, or limitations, give the words a structure that the mind finds pleasurable over and above the message."[1] Wiktionary defines a module as "a self-contained component of a system, often interchangeable, which has a well-defined interface to the other components."[citation needed]

Carlberg's sculptures often consist of repetitions of such a unit, a basic shape capable of combining with other such elements in various ways - somewhat in the way a composer such as Bach or Webern might compose a piece of music by exploring the combinatorial possibilities of a single motivic cell, working within implicit constraints. At Yale, Erwin Hauer was an important influence who prodded Carlberg in this stylistic direction. While both men often employed curvilinear forms as modules, Carlberg more often used relatively geometric, hard-edged design units, often combining curves with straight edges (or flat planes) in the same module. His prints, mostly dating after 1970, show a similar preoccupation with precision, simplicity, and modularity. Some are actually groups of prints, placed contiguously together on a wall, with each print conceived as a module.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [ http://myartspace-blog.blogspot.com/2007/02/art-space-talk-norman-carlberg.html "MyArtSpace Blog: 'Art Space Talk: Interview with Norman Carlberg"], formerly www.myartspace.com. Retrieved 07 July 2014.

Primary source of information for this article is the Norman Carlberg profile, a website maintained by the following institutions: the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Enoch Pratt Free Library; Johns Hopkins University; the Maryland Institute College of Art; the Maryland Historical Society; the Maryland State Department of Education; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; and the Walters Art Museum.

External links[edit]