WAG @ Home: Timeless Jim Love Sculptures
One thing we all feel particularly attuned to right now is the fluidity of time. We are in our homes, surrounded by people who are important to us and settings that are the background of our lives. It feels like an ideal time to consider the artworks we have collected, to discover more about them and to see which feel enduring – which, as we like to tell our clients, “live well” over time.
So, I would like to share with you two of my favorite art companions that, for me, truly have that magic of timelessness. Both sculptures are by the legendary Houston sculptor Jim Love (1927-2005), who was an important member of Houston’s art community for 50+ years.
Pictured above, “Birds” (1959) is a sculpture with attitude. I always feel like these dudes are observing me, rather than vice versa. They also seem a bit annoyed to be standing watch over “Turtle’s Nest,” another work by an artist I collect, Erika Verzutti, who is a contemporary Brazilian sculptor.
“The Looking Glass” (1961) is classic Jim Love. An assemblage of found pipes, welded scrap metal and other industrial bits transformed into a formal sculpture. It’s a marvelous marriage of high and low, and classical surrealism and formalism. Best of all, it’s tactile and invites the touch. I tend to move it around to different locations in my home. While so much art screams “hands off,” Love’s work is the antithesis of that.
Simply put, these sculptures make me happy — you can really feel Jim Love’s hand in the work, the precision and warmth they convey. Love had that supremely special combination of talented artist, precise technician, wit, humor and highly influential visionary. I have huge respect for artists who work with found objects and materials, and these two sculptures are iconic examples of Love’s early practice, which was strongly based in scrap metal and found hardware. I was fortunate to acquire these from Bill Hill’s Estate several years ago (Bill was an important collector of Jim Love’s work.)
You may know Jim Love’s “Portable Trojan Bear” at Hermann Park, his monumental welded screen at the Alley Theater, or his “Call Ernie” airplane sculpture at Hobby Airport…but did you know he was a collaborator in the technical planning and installing of the Menil Collection? A close relationship with Dominique de Menil led to his making much of the mounting hardware (still in use today!) for the museum’s most seminal works. Love’s work has also figured prominently in shows at the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney.
These two artworks have certainly “lived well” over time. Love’s historical impact on Houston can be seen throughout the city and, to me personally, every time I look up from my desk.