The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Skip to main content

Important Update

June 13, 2009 to January 17, 2010 |

Edward Tufte: Seeing Around

In the last ten years, the artist has completed fifty large-scale abstract outdoor installation artworks, one hundred table pieces, and numerous steel engravings and digital prints. His sculptures are constructed from stainless steel, weathered and rusting steel, road plate, scrap metal, discards from a nuclear power plant, and blacksmithing and mechanic’s tools. The complex geometries of the stainless pieces borrow, reflect, alter, and absorb nature’s light to create a multiplicity of beautiful color fields. The rusting, weathered artworks produce complex, multiple, and sometimes playful narratives.

Tufte’s monumental sculptures—including Larkin’s Twig, which stands 32 feet tall, and Rocket Science, which weighs 48,000 lbs—are partly a response to his own well-known books on analytical visual displays of data and information. Two-dimensional space—the flatlands of paper and the computer screen—inherently compresses and makes illusory the reality of the three-dimensional world. In contrast, outdoor sculpture provides endless and complex experiences of space, light, color, and airspace in nature’s full reality of three dimensions. Tufte’s outdoor artworks reside in the land, the trees, and the air. His essay on sculpture, Seeing Around, accompanies the exhibition.