• February 6–May 6, 2019

H.C. Westermann Goin' Home

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Calle de Santa Isabel, 52, 28012 Madrid, Spain

1993 34 v2

H.C. Westermann, Memorial to the Idea of Man If He Was an Idea, 1958. Pine, bottle caps, cast-tin toys, glass, metal, brass, ebony, and enamel. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago


H.C. Westermann Goin' Home is a retrospective exhibition of work by the artist (1922–1981) consisting primarily of sculptures—the art form for which he is best known—in addition paintings, lithographs, drawings, and archival materials. Across these media the exhibition considers themes and concerns embedded in his work—humor, skepticism about such concepts as the house as shelter, technology and machinery as panacea, and the sufficiency of language among others. 

Locally Westermann is strongly identified with Chicago, where he launched his career and studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1947–1950 and again in 1952–54 after serving in the Korean War). He began producing his enigmatic, finely crafted wood and mixed-media sculptures in Chicago (Mies Van der Rohe was among the first to purchase his sculpture). Associated with the mid-century group of Chicago artists known as the Monster Roster, Westermann influenced a range of younger artists nationally in the 1960s and 70s, notably the Chicago Imagists.