BA, Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH, 1973
Independent Study Program, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, 1972
To say that John Newman's sculptures come in many sizes is an understatement: his massive, large-scale works that gained him renown in the 1980s contrast sharply with his more recent tabletop sculptures, which deliver their impact not through size but through unusual, varied shapes and pairings of materials. Newman's shift in scale was inspired from his travels in Asia and Africa, where he found that small objects were often revered as the most sacred. "Imagination as 'dreamscape' is a space infinitely big, even if it is provoked by an object significantly small," he says. The artist is also concerned with the intersection of dissimilar substances, joining the unlikely and unexpected.
In the 2009 exhibition Instruments of Argument, for example, small-scale sculptures represent the artist's new direction with an unpredictable and sometimes humorous tone. In Saffron Writer's Block With Blowback, for instance, extruded aluminum, paper, wood, foam, aqua resin, epoxy enamel, and oil paint are combined in four parts, creating the abstracted shape of a triton horn—the small bottom end like a black net, the middle neck distinctly wood-like, and the top, like a porcelain dish, holding a crumpled piece of paper with red markings over typed words. The titles of his sculptures provoke further inquiry and speculation, with each element meant to bring the viewer closer—as close, the artist says, as one gets to "food, babies, a lover, or a book."
Newman has had over 40 solo exhibitions and numerous group exhibitions in galleries and museums through out the United States, Europe and Asia. He is represented in many public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney, the Tate Gallery in London, and the Albertina in Vienna. He has received grants and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rome Prize, the Pollack-Krasner Foundation, the Joan Mitchell Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as other organizations.
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
National Gallery of Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Tate Gallery, London, England
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY