b. 1927, Rochester IN, USA
d. 2011, Manhattan, NY, USA
John Chamberlain is best known for his large and vividly coloured sculptures using discarded automobile parts that he twisted and welded into monumental shapes. His singular method of putting these elements together led to his inclusion in the paradigmatic exhibition “The Art of Assemblage,” at the Museum of Modern Art in 1961, where his work was shown alongside modern masters such as Marcel Duchamp and Pablo Picasso. While freely experimenting with other materials—from galvanized steel and paper bags to Plexiglas, foam rubber, and aluminium foil—he consistently returned to metal car components, which he termed “art supplies.” Chamberlain’s emphasis on discovered or spontaneous correlations between materials rather than a prescribed idea of composition has often prompted descriptions of his works as three–dimensional Abstract Expressionist paintings. He openly credited de Kooning, Kline, and David Smith, as early influences on his own development.