Off view

American, b. 1952
Wit's End, 1988–89
46 1/2 in. x 10 ft. 9 in. x 64 in. (118.1 x 327.7 x 162.6 cm)
Gift of the family of Joseph H. Hazen in honor of his 90th birthday
Photo by Jerry L. Thompson
Wit’s End, a work that was commissioned for Storm King, evokes organic shapes and at the same time feels somewhat mechanistic, due in part to being constructed of cast aluminum. Its form melds John Newman’s interests in exoskeletons and topology (the study of objects that can be stretched into other shapes without changing their essential nature). Newman’s interests extend to medieval armor and Japanese samurai helmets, and he integrates them into his sculpture in unexpected and perhaps unprecedented ways. As he has described, “I want to expand the spectrum of sculpture’s vocabulary … to make something I’ve never seen before. I realize that there is a certain level of grandiosity in this statement, because there’s nothing new under the sun. But as a goal, as a method for working, it is something I like thinking about.”