Born Pittsfield, MA, 1939. Died New York City, NY, 1995
Wax, marble dust, acrylic, steel
8 x 72 x 96 inches
Collection Miami Art Museum, partial and promised gift of Jan Cowles
Credit line: Art © Nancy Graves Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Photo credit: Courtesy of the Nancy Graves Foundation
Graves worked in a variety of media, including sculpture, painting, and printmaking, but it is in sculpture where her greatest legacy lies. In the late 1960s and seventies, she was known for her use of unorthodox materials, such as wool, animal skin, fabric, latex and fiberglass, but from the late '70s onward she worked primarily in bronze.
Nancy Graves' Phoenix is redolent with a sense of history, mystery, life, death and renewal. The title alludes to the work's complex history. Made from steel and cast marble dust, the "bones" were assembled into a fanciful hanging skeleton. It was later re-worked by the artist with a number of new elements that were then distributed haphazardly about the floor. In its new incarnation scattered upon the floor, Phoenix calls to mind both minimalist floor sculptures and an archeological site.