“U” as a Set

Claire Falkenstein

Claire Falkenstein is internationally known for her monumental sculpture, fountains, and commissions for architecture. Working in the vanguard of post−war abstraction, she developed a linear concept, the “never ending screen,” which became the basis for the work that had occupied her for almost 40 years. The complex gestural structure of “U” as a Set, placed within a constantly agitated pool of water, provides an energetic foil, “screening” and ornamenting the elemental form of the building behind. The work was fabricated at the site by the artist and was the only symposium piece that did not require material, technical, or fabrication support from private industry.

Born in Oregon, Claire Falkenstein is internationally recognized for her innovative Abstract Expressionist sculpture made of thorny thickets of welded metal fused with melted glass. At the University of California, Berkeley, Falkenstein majored in art and minored in philosophy and anthropology. Beginning in the early 1930s, she invented abstract forms that reflected the new scientific and philosophical concepts of the twentieth century. In 1950, she went to Paris and met Jean Arp, Alberto Giacometti, and many other European artists. She also associated with a talented group of Americans, including Sam Francis and Paul Jenkins. In 1962, she returned to the United States and created her most ambitious, large−scale public commissions. These include Structure and Flow #2 (1963−65), a fountain for the California Federal Savings and Loan in Los Angeles, fountains and sculptures for Fresno and Coos Bay shopping malls, a fountain for the San Diego Art Museum, a screen for the Seattle Art Museum, and St. Basil’s Cathedral on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.



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