New Sculpture: Towers and Elliptical Forms
April 22 – May 27, 2011;
Danese is pleased to announce that its inaugural exhibition of sculpture and works on paper by Jene Highstein has been extended through Thursday, June 16, 2011.
“For much of his 40-year career as an artist, Jene Highstein has concentrated on variations of archetypal forms such as cones, cylinders and spheres.... Coming of age in the 1970s, with its reappraisal of minimalist imperatives, he has worked with the pristinely geometric and the primordially biomorphic but most characteristically, his sculpture exists in the area between, alluding to both.(1) Ultimately, however, he is more of a materialist – even a sensualist – than he is anything else…and has more in common with the classic modernism of Constantine Brancusi and Isamu Noguchi than with Donald Judd...or Sol Lewitt.(2)
In this exhibition, Highstein has created a group of five tall stainless steel towers that fill the gallery’s soaring light-filled space. Titled either Flora or Fauna, they reach as high as thirteen feet and reference the natural world: segmented stalks of bamboo, or the articulated leg or carapace of an insect. Though fundamentally columnar, their tapered, irregular profiles endow the works with a quiet energy – sentinels of stately, commanding presence.
Included in the show are three more moderately scaled elliptical sculptures, also of stainless steel. Eccentric, ironically altered classic forms, these sculptures counter the expectation of symmetry. Their softly geometric shapes appear weightless, and Highstein has remarked: It’s not just that they appear to swell as if inflated, it’s as if these works want to lift off of the earth and exist in the air.
Both the Elliptical Forms and Towers were fabricated at Kangsi Art Limited in China. Stainless steel sheets are hammered and molded over armatures, their seams welded to form a smooth, uniform surface. The works are then polished and sandblasted with tiny stainless steel beads, creating a luminous, muted sheen that subtly and beautifully modulates light.
Highstein’s numerous projects include monumental sculptures, towers, pavilions and amphitheaters in both public and private spaces. In 2005, a group of his sculptures was exhibited in Madison Square Park, New York, sponsored by the Madison Square Park coalition. In 2003, Double Pipe Piece (1974) was installed at P.S. 1 MOMA. Highstein is included in the permanent collections of numerous museums among them: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Dallas Art Museum; the Fogg Museum, Harvard University; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
Jene Highstein was born in Baltimore, MD in 1942. He received his BA in Philosophy at the University of Maryland in 1963, and attended the University of Chicago’s postgraduate program in Philosophy from 1963-1965. In 1970, he received a graduate degree from the Royal Academy of Art, London. Highstein lives and works in New York City.
 Wei, Lilly. “Subjective Correlatives,” in Jene Highstein: A Survey of Sculpture and Drawing. Seoul: Gallery, Skape, 2008.
 Wei, Lilly. “While strolling through the park one day,” Mad. Sq. Art 2006: Jene Highstein. New York: Madison Square Park Conservancy.