If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:2:39

Video transcript

we're in the Museum of Modern Art and we're looking at present in Breton koozies bird in space from 1928 francuzzi was a was a Romanian who worked from Austin's entire career in Paris and he worked in lots of media and often pushed the materials to really new expressions this bronze it's bronze that has been really highly polished but it's not just bronze because for brand koozie the pedestal was part of the sculpture and it's got a stone it's got limestone below that and very often you would actually see a wooden pedestal even below that creating a kind of hierarchy of materials from the most what he considered the most primitive to the most Neoplatonic idea of ascending from the material up to the immaterial I think that's exactly right and in fact the reflectivity of the bronze really drives that point home because it is really about light and about actually about movement yeah this is this is not a sculpture that is any in any way a literal depiction of a bird it's a depiction really of this gentle organic arcing of this soaring figure it's not a bird it's so much it has a representation of the thing that birds do that we love around it and looks at it the life that reflects on it shifts and changes and flickers it does it does have a sense of something almost kinetic well that's right as if they were moving and soaring but it's not a propulsion that seems mechanical even though it is metal and we see it almost as a kind of industrial material there's a great story about this sculpture and actually it's this sculpture in particular this was included in the famous 1936 exhibition at MoMA called cubism and abstract art and when this came over from France the customizations kept it and wouldn't let it out because MoMA was claiming it as a work of art and they didn't believe it this is 1936 and they thought it had some industrial use and therefore could be taxed and moment said now it's a work of art it should not be taxed and it was actually held and there was a little bit of a court case about it the purpose could this possibly the paper suggest that it may be in some way a propeller or a piece of a propeller hum so it really does speak to the radicality which i think we forget but just how abstract this is it it doesn't really in some ways look so abstract it does suggest flight and upward movement and we're used to things suggesting [Music]