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Louise Nevelson Assemblages

Louise Nevelson Assemblages
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Students will discover the art of Louise Nevelson as they enjoy making art out of recycled materials, or “junk”.

By Nicole Smith [Nicole is an art teacher from Vancouver, BC, Canada]


The student :

  • will become familiar with the work of the New York based, Modernist Sculptor, Louise Nevelson.
  • will make use of garbage.
  • will experiment with monochromatic form.

What You Need:

  • Images of Louise Nevelson’s Assemblages (Recommended book: The Sculpture of Louise Nevelson: Constructing a Legend (Jewish Museum) )
  • Cardboard: half a box or a flat piece to mount to the wall.
  • Reusable materials: cardboard forms from inside display boxes work well. You can use anything that will hold the paint. Plastic does not work well.
  • Black Tempera paint
  • Brushes
  • Glue guns
  • Scissors

What You Do:

Cut a cardboard box in half to use as the frame for the piece. Otherwise, you can cut out a large, square, flat piece of cardboard for the back support.

Chose your objects carefully and arrange them aesthetically inside the box or on the square. You may want to cut pieces to fit.

For older students, think about what the objects were before and how they will be read into the piece when finished.

Glue the pieces in place.

Make assemblages in the style of Louise Nevelson.

Paint the entire sculpture black. Don’t forget the sides and the back. This can be a MESSY job 🙂

Make assemblages in the style of Louise Nevelson.

If you have a group of students that have each done a box, you can assemble them back to back in a three-dimensional sculpture. If you have assembled the sculpture on the flat cardboard you can attach it to the wall for a similar affect. Nevelson did both in her practice.
Make assemblages in the style of Louise Nevelson.

Make assemblages in the style of Louise Nevelson.

About Louise Nevelson

Born: 1900; Died 1988

Louise Nevelson

Louise Nevelson was a towering figure in postwar American art, exerting great influence with her monumental installations, innovative sculptures made of found objects, and celebrated public artworks. The Sculpture of Louise Nevelson focuses on all phases of the artist’s remarkable ascent to the top of the art world, from her groundbreaking works of the 1940s to complex pieces completed in the late 1980s. Nevelson’s flamboyant style and carefully cultivated persona enhanced her reputation as an artist of the first rank.

Nevelson’s work examines a wide variety of important issues and themes throughout her career, including the role of monochromatic color in her painted wooden sculpture; the art-historical context of her work; her acclaimed large-scale commissioned artworks, which established her as a central figure in the public art revival of the late 1960s; and her “self-fashioning” as a celebrated artist, particularly her origins as a Ukrainian-born Jewish immigrant to the United States.

A revolutionary 20th-century artist.

Portrait of Louise Nevelson wearing two wooden necklaces and a bracelet in her living room / Photograph by Ugo Mulas / ca. 1965

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