Upstart 2 is characteristic of the minimalist movement through which strict economy of means produces purity of image. Minimalist reduces the language of art to "its sparest and barest element...to secure a maximum of expression at the very boundary separating art from non-art." (Hilton Kramer)
Upstart 2 creates a precise optical experience. Despite its actual mass and weight, the sculpture creates a miraculous impression of material lightness. It aggressively elbows out surrounding atmosphere as it makes its ascent. It is said the "Meadmore sees his sculpture as being like a person who inhabits a place."
The artist's means of achieving much with little in his sculpture first involves the execution of a small-scale maquette usually made of polyurethane. When completed, this model appears to have been formed simply from an attenuated bar that has been twisted, bent, stretched, curved, coiled, or knotted according to the sculptor's whim. From the miniature working model of Upstart 2, Meadmore executed a reduced version, measuring twenty-five and a half inches high, in an edition of four strikes.
The monumental version at Princeton is made of Cor-Ten steel. Meadmore was among the first sculptors to recognize the potential of Cor-Ten steel, which is particularly thick, hard, and durable. Its nonreflecting surface can be painted or allowed to develop a rich, dark brown patina through weathering.
Height: 21 feet
Executed in 1970; installed in 1973
Number 1 of an edition of 2
Text based on
Living with Modern Sculpture
by Patrick J. Kelleher.
Concept developed by Mary Jane Lydenberg, Annual Giving
Illustrations by Heather Lovett
Edited by Laurel Masten Cantor
Published by the Office of
Communications/Publications, Stanhope Hall
through special arrangement with
the Princeton Art Museum
All rights reserved
Copyright (c) 1982 by
the trustees of Princeton University