Main content

A Matter of Discovery: The Art of Luis Perelman

ON VIEW: June 7 - November 5, 2023

Well known for his pioneering sculptures cast in clear resin, New York-based artist Luis Perelman’s career spans six decades and encompasses drawings and paintings, sculptures, and innovative new artforms that he continues to explore today. The Neuberger Museum of Art has staged a dynamic retrospective featuring more than fifty objects from the artist’s collection, as well as never-before-seen items from his studio. The exhibition will be on view through Fall 2023.  

For Luis Perelman, art has always been “a matter of discovery.”

Luis Perelman in his studio with samples of shredded currency donated from the US Treasury Depart... Luis Perelman in his studio with samples of shredded currency donated from the US Treasury Department. April 26, 2022.
Credit: Patrice Giasson

After completing a master’s degree in architecture at Columbia University in the 1960s, Perelman discovered his true interest in art making and began to meticulously explore geometry, color interaction, and patterns derived from artistic traditions that range from American quilt practice to Islamic designs.

His pioneering resin sculptures soon attracted the attention of the well-known gallerist Leo Castelli, who represented many of the most influential artists at the time. Castelli began to showcase Perelman’s work in 1964; the following year, Roy Neuberger purchased Industrial Petrifications #8 (1964), a title coined by Castelli Gallery director Ivan Karp. The object entered the Neuberger Museum of Art collection when the museum was founded in 1969.

Perelman perfected his sculptural technique to create pristine works of resin that took the shapes of obelisks, columns, pyramids, and even the original, iconic Coca-Cola bottle. Each sculpture is filled with a variety of materials: from found objects to industrial supplies, including keys, screws, and wing nuts; cans; lightbulbs; typewriters; and shredded currency from the US Treasury Department. The products and materials echo the society in which Perelman has evolved as an artist. The transparent sculptures, in some cases tinted with color the artist added to the resin, at times feature an orderly display of layers, lines, grids, and rhythmical compositions of extreme precision, and at others are more abstract compositions featuring an amalgam of objects that have fallen randomly inside their molds.

Luis Perelman, Coca Cola Series, 1998, 21 parts; found materials embedded in clear re... Luis Perelman, "Coca Cola Series," 1998, 21 parts; found materials embedded in clear resin, 7 ½ x 2 ¼ x 2 ¼, Courtesy of Luis Perelman.
Credit: Patrice Giasson

In the 1970s, Perelman began creating a series of optical paintings and complex wall compositions that reflect his deep interest in patterns, color combinations, surfaces, and patinas. In recent years, he has been creating new forms of paper-folded sculptures and digital drawings using Photoshop.

A Matter of Discovery: The Art of Luis Perelman features more than fifty works from the artist’s collection: his early resin blocks (1960s) as well as those with typewriter components (2003–4); optical paintings from his Color Field Paintings (1970s); wall compositions inspired by Islamic drawings such as his Sufi Wall Reliefs (1980s) and Kamal Series (2016); patinated metal works from his Copper Wall Reliefs (1990s) and Wrapped Metal Weave Series (2011); and a selection of his recent Paper Folds and digital Optical Constructions created since 2020. The exhibition also showcases studies, drawings, and raw materials from the artist’s studio that have never been shown.

The show is organized by the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, SUNY, and curated by Patrice Giasson, the Alex Gordon Curator of the Art of Americas. The exhibition includes an illustrated brochure featuring an interview by the curator and the artist. 

Generous support for this exhibition is provided by the Alex Gordon Estate.