Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Lee Bontecou (American, b. 1931)

Untitled, 1966

Welded steel, canvas, epoxy, leather, wire, and light

78-1/2 x 119 x 31 in. (199.4 x 302.3 x 78.7 cm)

Gift of Robert B. Mayer Family Collection

Coming of age as an artist during the 1950s, Lee Bontecou recognized the impact of World War II on the political realities of that decade, especially the mysterious and ominous political brinksmanship of the emerging Cold War. She recalled, “I was angry. I used to work with the United Nations program on the short-wave radio in my studio. I used it like background music, and in a way, the anger became part of the process.”

Bontecou employed the heavy-duty, utilitarian fabrics of wartime, such as burlap and canvas. Using a welding iron, she pioneered a hybrid of painting and sculpture whose armored forms recall military equipment.