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UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Art to the Editor – 2/20/03

Most of you have probably already noticed the new sculpture behind Quinn Administration, rushing on your way to class. After all, it’s situated right by the stairs that come up from the bus stop. Furthermore, despite it’s modest size, the amorphous form is hard to miss, standing out against the minimalist, bleak architecture of UMass Boston.

Or, perhaps you read about it in The Mass Media. There was an article about the piece a few weeks back by the Arts on the Point crew, who was responsible for bringing the artwork to our campus. Reclining Figure even appeared on the front page of our winter issue. However, many of you probably don’t know much (if anything) about the artist himself.

Willem de Kooning actually first made it as a painter in the mid-twentieth century. He came to the United States in 1926 all the way from Holland’s shores. He was only twenty-two, and his first job was as a Hoboken house painter, making $9 a day. Later he worked as a commercial artist in New York City, but found that job equally unsatisfying.

Eventually, de Kooning made several important friendships with key painters of the New York art scene, and their work and ideas inspired the young artist.

By the late 1940s, de Kooning had mastered his signature style of the “unfinished” look. His paintings can be described as worked and re-worked experiments, that seem to imply the artist was never really satisfied with the outcome of his endeavors. His frenzied compositions border on the manic, or obsessive-compulsive.

This excited process is evident in Reclining Figure, which brings a fresh, new look to the otherwise dreary facade of UMass Boston.