May 17, 2012

Tonal Sculpture

Tonal Sculpture

c. 1971

Harry Bertoia

(American, 1915–1978)


With base: 319 cm (125 9/16 in.)

Anonymous Gift 1979.139



"I accidentally struck one rod when I wanted to bend it. The sound echoed in my mind for a very long time." In those words Harry Bertoia explains the genesis of a large group of works which he called "sounding pieces." The largest number of these works are based on groups of interacting wires, but he also expanded his notion of sculpture that produces audible tones to include "singing bars" and gongs. Bertoia set up a remodeled barn in 1968-69 to hold his special collection of tonal sculptures and to function as a sound recording studio. He gave small concerts to visitors and friends and recorded 11 albums of the haunting sounds of sculpture known as "Sonambient" during his lifetime.

See also
CONTEMP - Sculpture
Contemporary Art
Type of artwork: 
Credit line: 
Anonymous Gift

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