Norman Carlberg

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Norman Carlberg
Norman Carlberg portrait .jpg
BornNovember 6,1928
Roseau, Minnesota
DiedNovember 11, 2018[citation needed]
Baltimore, MD
Known forSculpture
Movementmodular constructivism
Spouse(s)Juanita Carlberg

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

Early life and education[edit]

Carlberg was born in Roseau, Minnesota. He studied at the Minneapolis School of Art and then enlisted in the Air Force. He finished his undergraduate and graduate degree in art at the Yale School of Art under Josef Albers.

Exhibitions and career[edit]

"Recent Sculpture USA", a 1959 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, 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 1997.

Style: Modular constructivism, minimalism[edit]

Caterpillar (1976) in front of Dallas F. Nicholas Sr. Elementary School in Baltimore, MD.

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]

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]

Other projects[edit]

He collaborated with important architects on major public projects, such as the Riverside Centre, designed by Harry Seidler and Associates in Brisbane, Australia.[citation needed]}


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.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MyArtSpace Blog: 'Art Space Talk: Interview with Norman Carlberg", formerly Retrieved 07 July 2014.
  2. ^

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]