May 5, 2015

Dave Cole: American Lullaby

David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University
Dave Cole, The Music Box, 2011. Caterpillar CS-553 Vibratory Roller-Compacter with cherry wood and spring steel, 11 x 8 x 19 feet. Installation view from the Cleveland Institute of Art. Courtesy the artist.

The David Winton Bell Gallery is pleased to announce Dave Cole: American Lullaby, a survey of the artist’s sculptures about childhood, on view from May 9 to July 5. The exhibition opening will be held on May 8, with a conversation between Dave Cole and curator Alexis Lowry at 5:30pm, and a reception to follow.

Dave Cole: American Lullaby presents both monumental and smaller sculpture that wed childhood playfulness with notions of military violence, patriotism, and infrastructure building. Included in the exhibition are two of Cole’s iconic, large-scale installations: The Music Box, (2012), a Caterpillar CS-553 Vibratory Roller-Compactor retrofitted with wood and sprung steel to play the first verse of the Star Spangled Banner, and Fiberglass Teddy Bear (2003/15), a giant bear knit from pink Owens Corning fiberglass—typically used for building insulation. The exhibition also features more intimate objects that are reminiscent of commoditized youth, always featuring Cole’s critical twist. Wooden rattles look like grenades, an infant’s romper is made from a repurposed Gulf War kevlar vest, and an American flag is constructed out of plastic toy soldiers. Both whimsical and dangerous, Cole’s sculptures serve as poignant reminders of the intimate relationship between the construction of national identity and the violence inherent in American material culture.

Dave Cole is a Brown University alum known for his use of recycled materials in large-scale sculpture. Cole’s work has been exhibited at regional and international museums, including MASS MoCA (which presented The Knitting Machine in 2005); deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum; Museum of Arts and Design; Nasjonal Museet, Oslo; Haifa Museum of Art; and the Textielmuseum, Netherlands. His works are included in the collections of the RISD Museum, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 21c Museum, and the Pizzuti Collection. Cole lives and works in Hudson, NY.

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