Frank West, Austrian (1947 - )

Franz West lives and works in Vienna, where he was born in 1947. West began his career in mid-1960s Vienna when a local movement called Actionism was in full swing. West's earliest sculptures, performances, and collages were a reaction to this movement, in which artists engaged in displays of radical public behavior and physical endurance meant to shake up art-world passivity. In the early 1970s, West began making a series of small, portable sculptures called "Adaptives" ("Paßtücke"), awkward-looking plaster objects that were only completed as artworks when the viewer picked them up and carried them around, or performed some other inherently slapstick action with them. In many ways, his large-scale aluminum sculptures are simply overgrown versions of the "Adaptives." But they also relate directly to his installations, where west makes furniture. West has the ability to make comfortable and colorfully upholstered couches and chairs which transform galleries, museums, and public spaces into lounge-like, sociable environments for viewing art.

West has exhibited internationally for more than three decades in galleries and museums, and at major festivals including Documenta IX (1992) and Documenta X (1997), Kassel, Germany; Sculpture Projects in Münster (1997); and the Venice Biennale (1988, 1993, 1997, 2003). In 1997 The Museum of Modern Art presented West with a solo show. More recently West's work has been exhibited at the Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofía (2001), Whitechapel Gallery, London (2003); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2003); Gagosian Gallery, New York (2003); and the Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich (2006). West most recent will open in September of 2006 at The Gagosian Gallery in London.


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