Aluminum at the Museum
Aluminum is all around us, making our everyday lives easier and more efficient. It’s in all the usual places – in our aluminum foil, in the cars we drive and in our soda and beer cans. In fact, you’re likely never more than 6 feet away from a piece of aluminum.
But did you know that artists use aluminum to create some iconic works of art?
Transforming Recycled Aluminum
Aluminum’s uniquely sustainable properties make it an ideal material to repurpose for artwork. Thanks to its light weight, durability, flexibility and corrosion-resistance, aluminum is ideal for painting panels, wall art, statues and sculptures.
Artist Noah Deledda was featured in My Modern Met for transforming discarded aluminum cans into hand-sculpted geometric aluminum sculptures. His ability to turn scrap aluminum into treasure proves that the metal has a life cycle that few metals can match.
The first aluminum sculpture dates to 1893 when Alfred Gilbert created a statue of the Greek god of unrequited love Anteros (famously known as Eros), which stands atop the Shaftsbury Memorial Fountain in London. Since then, aluminum has been used in pop art with James Rosenquist’s “F-111” painting on an aluminum canvas completed in 1964. A few other iconic pieces include Andy Warhol’s aluminum cast of his painting of Campbell’s Soup can and Jeff Koons’ 10-foot-tall Play-Doh sculpture. To add to the list of groundbreaking art, an incredible 26-foot-tall, 24,000-pound stainless steel and aluminum sculpture of Marilyn Monroe, named “Forever Marilyn,” was installed in Palm Springs in 2022 to honor what would be her 95th birthday.
Redefining Contemporary Art
Aluminum’s presence in contemporary art continues to grow as artists and curators continue to push boundaries. By transforming recycled aluminum into art, it not only extends the metal’s life cycle, but gives it a new purpose. The opportunities for aluminum are endless, and its unique properties make it the metal of choice in the ever-evolving world of art.