'John' 1998, Chuck Close, Gift of Orde Poynton Esq. CMG 1998 (Portrait of John Chamberlain)

Born in Indiana in 1927, John Chamberlain studied and taught at the Art Institute of Chicago and Black Mountain College. He had already made a name for himself on the American sculpture scene when he went to work with Kenneth Tyler at Gemini GEL in 1971: his work had been included in the Museum of Modern Art’s The art of assemblage exhibition and he had represented the United States at both the Sao Paolo and Venice Biennales. At Gemini GEL Chamberlain created the multiple Le molé (The molecule).

The structure of the small sculpture was based on a crumpled paper shopping bag that the artist coated in polyester resin and then cast in the same material. The edition was then aluminium plated and covered in a silicon oxide. The resultant sheen recalls Chamberlain�s assemblages made using scrap metal from cars.
Emilie Owens

Further reading

Chronology
 

1927
Born in Rochester, Indiana, United States

1943–46
Serves in US Navy; deployed to the Mediterranean and Pacific

1951–52
Attends the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois

1955–56
Studies at Black Mountain College, North Carolina

1957
First solo exhibition, at Wells Street Gallery, Chicago

1959
Included in exhibition, Recent Sculpture USA, at Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York

1960
Included in exhibition, Annual exhibition, at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

1961
Included in Biennial of S�o-Paulo, Brazil; included in exhibitions: Carnegie International, at the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Annual exhibition, at the Art Institute of Chicago

1962
Included in exhibition, Annual exhibition, at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

1964
Included in Venice biennale, Italy; included in exhibition, Painting and sculpture of a decade, at Tate Gallery, London, England

1965
Included in exhibition, Annual exhibition, at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

1966
Receives John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship; included in exhibition, Annual exhibition, at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

1967
Returns to New York; included in exhibition, Carnegie International, at Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh

1968
Completes film trilogy starring Taylor Mead: Wedding night, The secret life of Hernando Cortez and Wide point; included in exhibition, Annual exhibition, at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

1970
Included in exhibitions: New York painting and sculpture 1940–70, at Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

1971
Solo exhibition, John Chamberlain: a retrospective exhibition, at the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York; completes edition of the multiple Le mole at Gemini GEL, Los Angeles, California

1972
Included in exhibition, Film-video-photographs-projection, at Louisiana Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark

1973
Included in exhibition, Whitney biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

1975
Travelling solo exhibition, John Chamberlain: the Texas pieces, originating at Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Texas; included in exhibition, Sculpture: American directions 1945–75, at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

1976
Included in exhibition, 200 years of American sculpture, at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

1977
Receives John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship

1978
Receives commission for the Federal Plaza in Detroit, Michigan; included in travelling exhibition, Art about art, at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

1980
Moves to Sarasota, Florida

1982
Travelling solo exhibition, John Chamberlain: an extended exhibition, organised by DIA Art Foundation, New York; included in exhibition, Documenta 7, Kassel, West Germany

1983
Solo exhibitions: at Art Museum of the Pecos, Marfa, Texas; John Chamberlain reliefs 1960–82, at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida; John Chamberlain, sculpture and works on paper, at Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio

1984
Receives the Brandeis University Creative Arts Award, Wooster, Massachusetts; solo exhibition, John Chamberlain/esculturas, at Palacio Cristal, Madrid, Spain

1985
Completes residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine, Connecticut

1986
Retrospective exhibition, John Chamberlain: sculpture 1954–1985, at Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; travelling solo exhibition, John Chamberlain: oils, originating at Galerie Rudolf Zwirner, Cologne, West Germany

1987
Receives commission for The colored gates of Louisville: The inevitable return of the indefatigable Dr Fahey, Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, Louiseville

1991
Travelling retrospective, John Chamberlain, originating at Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Baden-Baden, Germany

1996
Travelling solo exhibition, John Chamberlain: current work and fond memories, sculptures and photographs 1967–95, originating at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

2000
Solo exhibition at PaceWildenstein, New York

2002
Solo exhibition at Waddington Galleries, London

2005
Solo exhibition at Waddington Galleries, London

2006
Symposium, It. s all in the fit: the work of John Chamberlain, Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas

2011
John Chamberlain died in New York City.

Kate Buckingham, 2006
This chronology builds upon the excellent biographical information published in the exhibition catalogues John Chamberlain: oils (Munich: Galerie Fred Jahn, c. 1986) and John Chamberlain: recent work (New York: Pace Gallery, c. 1992).

Further information will be added to this site as the National Gallery proceeds with its research and documentation.

Last updated August 2014