Robert Grosvenor (1937-)
Fiberglass, plywood, steel and acrylic lacquer
Overall: 63 1/4 × 276 1/2 × 45 1/8 in. (160.7 × 702.3 × 114.6 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase, with funds from the Howard and Jean Lipman Foundation, Inc.
Rights and Reproductions Information
© artist or artist’s estate
Robert Grosvenor’s Tenerife is one of only two extant examples from a group of hanging works that the artist made in the mid-1960s, a period during which he experimented with dynamic angled and cantilevered forms that directly engaged their architectural surroundings. Suspended from the ceiling, the massive yet elegant sculpture seems to float in defiance of gravity. Its visual bulk belies a lightweight, hollow structure made in part from plywood and fiberglass in the manner of boat building, a longtime passion of Grosvenor’s. The artist stipulates that Tenerife be presented in a nine-foot-tall room, so that its horizontal element confronts us physically, at waist level, and activates the space above and below it. As one moves around the sculpture, its crisp edges and planes appear to recede dramatically or rush toward the viewer, as in a perspectival drawing. Like a number of artists working in the 1960s, Grosvenor was intrigued by advances in engineering and technology; Tenerife recalls the futuristic qualities of the Space Age with its high-gloss finish and slightly sparkling purple automobile lacquer.