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Harry Bertoia, Atmoshphere for Enjoyment

Harry Bertoia

After spending two decades crafting hundreds of “sounding sculptures”, interactive, kinetic, and audible forms, Bertoia’s work is on show at the MAD museum in New York.



The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York presents an exhibition focused on prolific artist, designer, and sculptor Harry Bertoia. “Atmosphere for Enjoyment: Harry Bertoia’s Environment for Sound” explores the sounding sculptures collectively referred to as Sonambient, their installation in Bertoia’s stone barn, and their legacy as sound art.

Harry Bertoia, Bertoia Barn, 1975

Bertoia Barn, 1975. The artist manipulating the tops of rods shaped like cattails, using individual fingers to move specific rods, to create a complex sound. Photo by and courtesy of Beverly H. Twitchell

In the 1960s, Bertoia began exploring the potential relationship between sculpture and sound, creating a significant oeuvre that would crown his life’s work. Upon discovering the range of tones possible when pieces of wire or metal rods strike one another, Bertoia spent two decades crafting hundreds of “sounding sculptures” in pursuit of a simple instrument. These sculptures are interactive, kinetic, and audible forms consisting of bundles of metal rods that collide and set off radiant tones when activated by wind or human touch.

until 25 September 2016
Atmosphere for Enjoyment:
Harry Bertoia’s Environment for Sound
2 Columbus Circle, New York