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Exhibition Spotlight: Marisol in Giant Steps: Artists and the 1960s

August 2, 2018

From left: Robert Rauschenberg’s Ace, 1962, Marisol's Tea for Three, 1960; and Jasper Johns’s Numbers in Color, 1958–59, on view in Giant Steps: Artists and the 1960s. Photograph by Tom Loonan and Brenda Bieger.

Giant Steps: Artists and the 1960s (on view through January 6, 2019) features a mix of classic Albright-Knox highlights, like Robert Rauschenberg's Ace, 1962, and Jasper Johns's Numbers in Color, 1958–59, alongside hidden gems that have not been on view in decades or ever. These include Marisol's Tea for Three, 1960, which recently entered the museum's collection as part of the artist's bequest to the Albright-Knox.

Marisol (María Sol Escobar) (Venezuelan and American, born France, 1930–2016). Tea for Three, 1960. Wood, acrylic, and found objects; 64 x 22 x 27 inches (162.6 x 55.9 x 68.6 cm) overall. Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Bequest of Marisol, 2016 (2018:16a-d). © Estate of Marisol / Albright-Knox Art Gallery / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Tea for Three brings together three heads mounted atop narrow rectangular bodies painted yellow, red, and blue: the colors of the Venezuelan flag. These merge to create a single entity with rocker-like feet. The clown-like head of each character is actually a found hat form the artist then painted, carved, and adorned with a plaster mouth and glass eyes. Two hands are also present in the center of the sculpture. The larger of the two is based on the artist’s hand. It is paired with a small, child-like palm that extends forth a cup of tea—a gesture that seemingly beckons the viewer to join them.