Critique of “Black Wall” by Louise Nevelson

Louise Nevelson made this piece out of metal and painted wood in 1964. It is a three dimensional sculpture that is displayed on a large metal base. The period this piece is from was one of increasing technology, including, but not limited to, the improvement of cars, laser, satellite broadcasts and color TVs. This piece is composed of numerous small boxes containing pieces of a machine. What looks like bedposts, cranks, and the intricate pieces that can be found inside a watch – this installation tells a story of changing times in machinery and gadgets.

When I first viewed this image, I thought of the inside of a clock tower. It is all black with no color contrast, creating a sense of darkness and fortitude. This piece is mainly a variation of squares, circles and lines. Each section of the piece is distinctly blocked off into separate boxes. The piece has dimension as each piece protrudes from the back giving it a very realistic feel.

This piece is bold and dark, giving the viewer a sense of night. The colors in this piece make it appear to be a warning. The shapes are very symmetrical, implying a sense of perfection or conforming to what may be considered “the norm.” It is very realistic due to it’s dimensions and proportions.

The artist is stating that as time is progressing, machinery and technology becomes more developed but society should remember the basics. They should be weary and stay aware of the literal nuts and bolts that keeps communities effectively and efficiently working. I think this piece could have been created in recent times because warnings of forgetting the importance of simplicity still resonate. With processes such as cloning, classroom time decreasing as students sit at home online and actual human contact unnecessary to date- technology is changing society. It always will and this piece is warning us of that.

I like this work and think it is relevant to many types of people. It is simplistic, yet daunting. It is big and bold and stands alone. There is no color because the viewer must see the piece and understand what it represents to her personally. This piece has a major focus. It is social commentary and it’s more than just a representation of  current times, it’s a prediction.

Nevelson is from Ukraine, a country that was consistently in steep competition with it’s neighbors. In the 60’s, the world was racing to be first in everything that needed to be done. This piece speaks of rough conditions that resulted from such a competitive drive and warned that technology, innovation, did not always make life better or easier.

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