Collection 1970s–Today

Maren Hassinger. Leaning. 1980 279

Wire rope and wire, 32 bundles, Each 16" (40.6 cm) high. Acquired through the generosity of The Modern Women's Fund and Ronnie Heyman. © Maren Hassinger

Artist, Maren Hassinger: I'm Maren Hassinger. Leaning means having an inclination. It also means literally leaning over. So I think that both of those things are part of the title.

I first discovered the material--it's wire rope--in a salvage yard in Los Angeles and when I found this, I went, “Ah!” It was one of those “ah ha” moments. It has all of this quality of being like a flowing river, a blowing branch in the wind, leaves, twigs. It reminds me of all of these things, Yet, on the other hand, it's steel and it is part of our Industrial Revolution, which we are discovering is contributing to our climate change and destruction. I always thought from the very beginning of my practice as a professional artist that vanishing nature was going to be a big issue in my lifetime, and I wanted to address it. But I didn't consciously realize how much the choice of wire rope as a material was going to allow that to happen.

They are in groupings. If they're all sort of leaning the same direction, well, that's more like all the wind is blowing that way, but if they're doing this more chaotic thing, it's more like a crowd of people, you know running towards something.

Looking back on this piece I see seeds of things that now concern me. I feel as if without our, as people, ability to work together as equals that we're going to lose our planet. And I somehow believe this multitude of individual things intertwined, but not permanently, is related to that idea.

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