Richard Nonas was born in New York in 1936. He studied literature and then social anthropology at the University of Michigan, Lafayette College, Columbia University and the University of North Carolina. Following his education, Nonas worked as an anthropologist for 10 years, doing field-work on American Indians in Northern Ontario, Canada, and in Northern Mexico and Southern Arizona. He turned to sculpture in the mid-1960s at age 30. His anthropological work left a deep imprint that affected his sculptural practice and his engagement with the perception of space. Through a Minimalist vocabulary, Nonas developed a body of sculpture that engaged with the issue of place.
In the 1970s, Nonas was a part of an intrepid group of artists and curators who found alternative places to show. His work involved the alteration of the environment and repeated geometric forms, and he came to see sculpture and space as interdependent carriers of deep philosophical and emotional meanings. Many of his works – made of such materials as timbers, linear beams, granite curbstones, and steel planes – rest directly on the ground and function less as formal aesthetic objects, and more as spatial markers. His forms serve to interrupt the space, calling attention to the non-specificity of the forms on the one hand, while creating a charged sense of space on the other.
Nonas has exhibited extensively throughout the world, making floor-based and wall-mounted works that range in scale and are situated both indoors and out; such as, the permanent installations at the abandoned village, Vière et les Moyennes Montagnes, Digne-les-Bains, France in 2012 and at the Fondazione Ratti, 2003-11. His most recent solo exhibitions include The Man in the Empty Space at MASS MoCA, Massachusetts, 2016, and Richard Nonas: ridge (out, away, back) at the Art Institute in Chicago, 2016-17. He lives and works in New York, NY.
ArtlystArt Basel’s fifth edition in Hong Kong has closed with encouraging sales recorded across all levels of the market. This demonstrates a continued demand for high-quality works by the world’s leading international collectors and institutions. Attendance at this year’s show, whose Lead Partner is UBS, rose to nearly 80,000 – due to the introduction of evening ticket sales and improved crowd control measures – and attracted leading members of the international art world. Many observers felt that this edition had built on the show’s strong history to attain new levels – Art Basel in Hong Kong now not only stands as the premier fair in Asia but also as one of the leading fairs worldwide. Read More
ARTSY EDITORIAL by Alexxa GotthardtFergus McCaffrey’s elegant booth mingles the practices of two American artists who came of age in the 1960s and happen to be great friends. The works of Marcia Hafif and Richard Nonas, however, differ greatly—and that’s precisely what makes this presentation so compelling. Hafif’s hyper-saturated canvases featuring curvaceous forms that resemble bodily contours (she calls these her “Pop-Minimal” paintings) draw you in. Nonas’s more subtle patinaed steel sculptures cover the floor. They resemble architectural forms or ritualized objects; given Nonas’s early years as an anthropologist, they just might be inspired by them, too. Read More