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Artists on Art: Beverly Pepper on Zig-Zag

April 11, 2017

Beverly Pepper (American, 1922–2020). Zig-Zag, 1967. Stainless steel and baked enamel, 74 3/4 x 59 x 65 inches (189.9 x 149.9 x 165.1 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr., 1968 (K1968:10). © 1967 Beverly Pepper

In the 1960s, the Albright-Knox wrote to a selection of artists to ask for statements about their works. Beverly Pepper responded with thoughts about her 1967 sculpture Zig-Zag:

“The attempt was to enclose space and give weight to the empty volumes, at the same time projecting the first element, cantilevering it in such a way as to make the viewer feel a movement—that something is about to happen. The polished mirror surface has two distinct uses: one is to envelop the environment so that in a certain light the sculpture appears to absorb the landscape or the landscape absorbs the sculpture. . . . The essential attempt was to have a continuity between the work and the environment, the environment and the work . . . the sequence unimportant but a sense of change and permutation essential.”

Content taken from Letters from 31 Artists to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo: The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, 1970).