Shaping the Spirit, Recent Sculpture by Richard Hunt

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Shaping the Spirit, Recent Sculpture by Richard Hunt installation in The Sculpture Center’s Euclid Avenue Gallery
Shaping the Spirit, Recent Sculpture by Richard Hunt installation in The Sculpture Center’s Euclid Avenue Gallery

Shaping the Spirit, Recent Sculpture by Richard Hunt
includes selected small bronze and stainless steel sculpture and the maquettes and photomurals of selected outdoor public commissions from the last ten years by the renowned, second generation Abstract Expressionist sculptor Richard Hunt. Hunt (b. 1935) was the first African-American artist to receive a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art and has created more publicly commissioned sculpture than any American artist. He began to fill outdoor sculpture commissions in 1967 and has completed between two and six large outdoor sculptures every year since, many for the city of Chicago and institutions across Illinois and the Midwest, as well as California, Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Missouri, and Tennessee. Since the late 1960s Hunt has created works in bronze, Corten steel, and stainless steel in which expressionistic forms, some evocative of wings, streamers, or tree branches and others inwardly turned, solid forms, rise from monolithic, geometric bases. These abstract works, never strictly formalistic and always responsive to the human scale, are intended to suggest specific ideas and recognizable forms as befitting the particular commission. His forms indicate historical influences as broad as the Greek Winged Nike and the Italian Futurist Umberto Boccioni.

This is the first exhibition of Hunt’s work in the region since a 1986 exhibition at Youngstown State University. He has had ties to Cleveland since the 1960s when his early bronzes were cast at the Flats foundry owned by Ron Dewey. Within the last decade Dewey’s Light Sculpture Works has also cast some of Hunt’s smaller stainless steel sculptures. His bronze sculpture Sentimental Scale and Wedge (1977), a commission by Cuyahoga County for the Federal Office Building, is in downtown Cleveland. The Cleveland Museum of Art, which showed his work in a one-person exhibition in 1971, holds in its collection the model for this piece as well as nineteen of his sculptures and prints. Hunt served as the first juror of The Sculpture Center’s annual exhibition of small sculpture (2004).

Hunt (b. 1935) lives and works in Chicago. While he was in his second year of study at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1956, two of his pieces were acquired by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.  In 1967, he had his first retrospective at the Milwaukee Art Center, followed in 1971 by a major retrospective with catalog at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, that traveled to the Art Institute of Chicago. Hunt has served on the National Council for the Arts (1968-74) at the request of President Nixon and as a commissioner of the Smithsonian Institution’s American Museum of Art (1980-88). Hunt has received numerous honorary degrees, fellowships, and awards, and his work is held in major collections throughout the United States. See for further information on the artist.

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The Sculpture Center is a not-for-profit arts institution dedicated to the advancement of the careers of emerging Ohio sculptors and the preservation of Ohio outdoor sculpture as a means to provide support for artists and to effect the enrichment, education, enjoyment, and visual enhancement of the Cleveland community and greater region.

The Sculpture Center gratefully acknowledges generous support from Toby Devan Lewis, the Kulas Foundation, the John P. Murphy Foundation, the Bernice and David E. Davis Art Foundation, studioTECHNE|architects, The Nathan and Fannye Shafran Foundation, a supporting foundation of the Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland, American Greetings, and individual donors to Friends of The Sculpture Center, and from Cuyahoga Arts and Culture and the Ohio Arts Council.

Gallery hours: Wednesday through Friday, 10 AM to 4 pm, Saturday 12 noon to 4 pm or by prior appointment (Free Parking, Handicapped accessible)