Richard Hunt (b. 1935, USA) is one of the most accomplished American metal sculptors of the past century. His work has been exhibited 12 times at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, including a solo retrospective in 1971, when the artist was only 35 years old. Titled The Sculpture of Richard Hunt, 25 March–9 July 1971, this was only the third solo exhibition for a black artist in the history of MoMA. The director of that show referred to it as a 'mid-career' exhibition, however Hunt is still active in his studio today at age 83.Read More
Hunt was born and raised on the South side of the city of Chicago, in the Woodlawn neighbourhood. His mother Inez was a librarian and his father Howard was a barber. He took his first art classes at age 13, in the junior school of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. At age 15, Hunt built his own sculpture studio in his bedroom and began to sculpt with clay. His vision for his future truly came to life when he was 18, when he saw the traveling exhibition Sculpture of the Twentieth Century, which was organised by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and visited The Art Institute of Chicago. It was in the Art Institute of Chicago that Hunt first saw the work of the Spanish sculptor Julio González, who became an immediate and lifelong inspiration. (Little could the young artist imagine that only six years later one of his own works would be traveling the country in a similar show!) That same year, Hunt entered the School of The Art Institute of Chicago where he majored in Art Education. In 1954, he learned to solder and began his total transition away from soft materials into metal. The following year he taught himself to weld.
In the realm of large-scale works, Hunt has established himself as the most productive public sculptor in the United States. His more than 125 public sculptures grace everything from the grassy sweeps of idyllic public parks to the imposing facades of steel and glass skyscrapers. He has been commissioned by corporations, hospitals, museums, municipalities, universities and athletic organisations. One of his proudest recent accomplishments is the welded bronze sculpture Swing Low (2016), which hangs in the lobby of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, the newest Smithsonian institution. Hunt's work is in the collections of many of the most significant cultural institutions in the United States, including MOMA, the Smithsonian, and many others.
Text courtesy Kavi Gupta.