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Robert Therrien Donates Two Sculptures To Artist Rooms Collection

The National Galleries of Scotland and Tate are delighted to announce that the internationally renowned American artist, Robert Therrien has very generously given two major sculptures to the ARTIST ROOMS collection. These two seminal pieces, No Title (Beard Cart) (2004) and No Title (Stacked Plates) (2010) will significantly enhance the group of five important works by the artist already featured in the ARTIST ROOMS collection that was created by the collector Anthony d’Offay in 2008. The addition of these two gifts establishes a world-class holding of Therrien’s work that will allow visitors around the UK to explore the artist’s remarkable work in even greater depth.

The two sculptures being given by the artist will shortly go on show at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in an extended ARTIST ROOMS display of Therrien’s work that will also feature one of the artist’s best-known installations, the giant No Title (Table and Four Chairs) and a large stainless-steel sculpture not yet seen as part of ARTIST ROOMS, No Title (Oil Can).

The display will form part of phase three of What you see is where you’re at, a dynamic programme of changing displays that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.

ARTIST ROOMS is jointly owned by Tate and National Galleries of Scotland and was established through The d’Offay Donation in 2008, with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund and Scottish and British Governments. ARTIST ROOMS also includes Robert Therrien’s important room-installation RED ROOM (2000-7) which the artist generously made available especially for the collection. ARTIST ROOMS has the special purpose of inspiring young people all over the country and ARTIST ROOMS exhibitions have been touring galleries and museums nationwide since 2009, thanks to the generous additional support of the Art Fund, and within Scotland, the Scottish Government.

ARTIST ROOMS is an evolving collection, intended to grow over time in order to both extend the representation of existing artists and to introduce the work of younger artists to ensure it remains a dynamic and contemporary collection. Thanks to the continued involvement and support of Anthony d’Offay, ex-officio curator of ARTIST ROOMS, the collection is now being extended in remarkable ways; Robert Therrien is one of a number of artists who are generously donating work to the collection in recognition of its importance within the UK and its significant role in bringing great art into the lives of young people. To date, works have been donated to ARTIST ROOMS by the artist Ed Ruscha and the estate of Ian Hamilton Finlay.

The first of the two sculptures given by Robert Therrien, No Title (Beard Cart) (2004), is one of a series of works in which the artist has incorporated beards of various sizes. This apparently unlikely subject recalls modes of disguise, as well as the bearded men of folklore and children’s stories. The most recent work, No Title (Stacked Plates) (2010), comprises twenty giant beige-coloured plates and bowls stacked to form a precarious tower over two metres high. The plates are modelled on a style of kitchenware found in American roadside diners in the first part of the twentieth century, evoking nostalgia for a lost era, while their larger than life size transforms them into an abstracted sculpture.

Born in Chicago, Robert Therrien grew up in San Francisco and moved to Los Angeles in 1971 where he still lives and works. In the early 1980s he became known for making objects with simple recognizable shapes such as pitchers, coffins and doors, created in a variety of media including copper, wood and bronze. He is renowned for transforming everyday things into extraordinary sculptures, often by increasing their scale many times. These larger than life works suggest a world of fairy tales and childhood games and provoke an interaction between the viewer, the object and the environment.

Therrien’s work has often been associated with Pop art. It has also been related to the legacy of Surrealism in the evocation of the uncanny and extraordinary. However, his ability to reveal surprising perspectives and to convey an array of moods, from the haunting to the playful, defy such definitions and he remains one of the most compelling artists working today.

The display of Robert Therrien’s work featuring the two gifts will be on show at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh from 24 July 2010 until early 2011.

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