enameled steel
United States
Overall: 59 × 53 × 45 1/2 in. (149.86 × 134.62 × 115.57 cm)

“The definition of sculpture for me is stance and attitude. All sculpture takes a stance. If it dances on one foot, or even if it dances while sitting down, it has a light-on-its-feet stance.” —John Chamberlain

Chamberlain’s sculptures—salvaged automobile parts welded into complex masses—often transform his materials so completely that it is difficult to tell that they once were pieces of cars. Johnny Bird builds around a central axis and gains further interest from juxtapositions of color, texture, and irregular forms. Chamberlain’s vigorous manipulation of these elements associates his work with Abstract Expressionism, although his use of found materials, and his willingness to embrace popular culture as represented by the car, links his work to the generation following, including Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.

Gift of Sydney and Frances Lewis
Contemporary Art from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Muscarelle Museum of Art, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA, September 30 – November 15, 1987

The Third Dimension: Sculpture of the New York School, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, December 5, 1984 – March 3, 1985

Selections from the Sydney and Frances Lewis Collection, Richmond Public Library, Richmond, VA, April 1978

John Chamberlain, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY, December 23, 1971 – February 20, 1972

Contemporary Paintings and Sculpture, Parke-Bernet, New York, NY, November 18, 1970

John Chamberlain Sculpture, Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, NY, November 22 - December 17, 1960

14th Festival of Contemporary Art, A.D. White Gallery, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 1960
(Martha Jackson Gallery, New York) by 1960. (Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York) by 1970; Purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Sydney and Frances Lewis, Richmond, Virginia in November of 1970; Gift to Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA), Richmond, Virginia in December of 1985.
©artist or artist’s estate

Some object records are not complete and do not reflect VMFA's full and current knowledge. VMFA makes routine updates as records are reviewed and enhanced.