Louise Nevelson was an American sculptor known for her monumental, monochromatic, wooden wall pieces and outdoor sculptures. By the early 1930s she was attending art classes at the Art Students League of New York, and in 1941 she had her first solo exhibition. Usually created out of wood, her sculptures appear puzzle-like, with multiple intricately cut pieces placed into wall sculptures or independently standing pieces, often 3-D. A unique feature of her work is that her figures are often painted in monochromatic black or white.
A sculpture garden, Louise Nevelson Plaza (40.7076°N 74.0080°W), is located in downtown New York City and features a collection of works by Nevelson. Nevelson donated her papers in several installments from 1966 to 1979. They are fully digitized and in the collection of the Archives of American Art. Nevelson is listed on the Heritage Floor, among other famous women.
Louise Nevelson has been a fundamental key in the feminist art movement. Credited with triggering the examination of femininity in art, Nevelson challenged the vision of what type of art women would be creating with her dark, monumental, masculine and totem-like artworks. Reviews of Nevelson’s works in the 1940s wrote her off as just a woman artist.
Even with her influence upon future generations of feminist artists, Nevelson’s opinion of discrimination within the art world bordered on the belief that artists who were not gaining success based on gender suffered from a lack of confidence. When asked by Feminist Art Journal if she suffered from sexism within the art world, Nevelson replied “I am a woman’s liberation.”