John Chamberlain (b. 1927 Rochester, Indiana d. 2011 New York, NY) began his creative career at the Art Institute of Chicago, then moving to Black Mountain College in 1955. In 1956, Chamberlain moved to New York where he began to discover his identity as an artist. By 1961, Chamberlain showed along side legends such as Marcel Duchamp and Pablo Picasso at the Museum of Modern Art’s show “The Art of Assemblage”. His inclusion in this exhibition was a result of commanding attention after constructing his pieces with discarded automobile parts as well as other metal debris.
Considering his use of premade metal debris, Chamberlain welcomed the variety of paint and strucutral differences that his materials offered. His inspiration was rooted in the time period he was creating in, that of a maturing industrial society. Through his construction, he combined all mechanical parts that seemed virtually unrelated to make a cohesive piece. His process consisted of manipulating the maliable pieces of metal twisting, crushing, bending, and welding each piece. Often, the finish product was larger than life, imposing on the viewer while simultaneously encouraging the viewer to see their own society in a varient of ways. Chamberlain is frequently honored for his importance within the progression of public sculpture as we know it for introducing industrial materials as an accepted medium.
Chamberlain has had the honor of showing at many acclaimed institutions in both individual and group shows around the world. His inclusion in Biennials as well as the multitude of shows has proved crucial to the comprehension and message of the event as a whole.