Townhouse.bz presents an exclusive collection of Jud Nelson sculptures and prints, from 1977 to today.
What started it all? Muskrats. They burrowed into an abstract Styrofoam sculpture that Nelson had installed along the edge of a Minneapolis lake. When the chagrined Nelson retrieved the pieces from his irate patron, it was a revelation to see how beautifully the muskrats had carved the Styrofoam to create their burrows. Thus began Nelson’s exploration into hyper-realist sculpture with Styrofoam.
Jud Nelson’s sculpture, Holos/Series 5, No 6 (Tea Bag) is among his earliest hyper-realist sculptures. Carved completely from Styrofoam, including the staple and the string, it is the 6th tea bag of the Holos/Series of tea bags in 1977. (pictured below)
Nelson developed his sculpture series of multiples of everyday objects with minute differences as a lesson in seeing to quote John Russell of the New York Times. Nelson challenges the viewer to examine everyday objects. His cool, minimalist presentation, exquisite attention to detail, and deadpan humor has art critics simultaneously comparing Nelson to Chuck Close, Michelangelo and Sol Lewitt.
The Holos/Series 6 No 6 (Popsicle), 1978, (pictured top) is one of Nelson’s early marble sculptures and marks his switch from Styrofoam to marble as his preferred medium. Nelson realized that marble offered him the granular control he needed to render the finest details. The Popsicle is carved from the same block of Carrara marble statuario as his icnonic sculpture, Hefty 2-Ply, commissioned by the Walker Art Center in 1979.
Nelson’s Still Life Study (Peanuts), 1983, represents the addition of stones of color to his body of work. The life-sized peanut shell is travertine marble and the peanuts are honey-colored marble, both found in rubble outside the San Marco Cathedral, Venice, Italy. Always resourceful in his use of materials, Nelson frequently repurposes discarded stones for his art.
The Block Buster Series (Bear), 1980, is from Nelson’s later exploration of colossal blow-ups of animal crackers. Conceived as a project for the UN’s Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza with Linda Macklowe, the curator of the sculpture garden, a number of animal crackers were sculpted as maquettes for full-size sand-cast bronzes.
Limited Edition, Signed Prints
In addition to Nelson’s sculptures, townhouse.bz and Nelson have collaborated to offer Portrait of Wonder Bread 1, 2 and 3. Limited edition prints of photographs of Nelson’s Carrara statuario marble sculptures HOLOS/Series 7, 1977. Coolly elegant and minimalist with deep, matte blacks and greys on premium, matte paper, the prints feature the breathtaking detail of Nelson’s sculptures. The Portrait of Wonder Bread series is a juxtaposition of the dispassionate study of bread with the imprint of the artist’s hand on each piece of bread.
Never simply Super Realistic, his work always questions the reality of physical existence, and appeals to some alienated modern sense of the existentially absurd… Kim Levin, Arts Magazine, October 1981