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Artists on Art: Len Lye on Grass

March 21, 2017

Len Lye (American, born New Zealand, 1904–1980). Grass, 1965. Stainless steel and wood, motorized and programmed, 36 x 35 5/8 x 8 1/2 inches (91.4 x 90.5 x 21.6 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Gift of Howard Wise Gallery, 1965 (RCA1965:2). © 1965 The Len Lye Foundation

In the 1960s, the Albright-Knox wrote to a selection of artists to ask for statements about their works. Len Lye responded with thoughts about his 1965 sculpture Grass:

Grass came about without any preconceived ideas about its imagery," artist Len Lye explained. "It came from watching a single rod swaying and then doubling up to emphasize the accelerating stroke of its oscillation. It was the ‘lurch’ part of the sway that I liked. It should be timed to slow music, a suitable tempo is given by Miles Davis doing These Foolish Things, but I prefer something in similar tempo in the Satie style.”

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