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For Immediate release

August, 2008




San Antonio, TX — The McNay celebrates the achievements of George Rickey, an artist who helped make movement a central concern in modern sculpture, from October 1, 2008 through January 11, 2009. Located both inside and outside of the new Jane & Arthur Stieren Center for Exhibitions, George Rickey Kinetic Sculpture: A Retrospective brings together nearly 50 kinetic (moving) sculptures, ranging from “Crucifera III” (1964), a six-foot wide starburst of tiny steel squares, to “Six Random Lines Excentric II” (1992), a tall, stainless steel sculpture with blade-like arms that whiplash or swing slowly, depending on the wind.  Organized by art historian Lucinda H. Gedeon, the Executive Director of the Vero Beach Museum of Art, George Rickey Kinetic Sculpture: A Retrospective  debuted at the Florida museum last spring.

“This retrospective is long overdue,” says William J. Chiego, Director of the McNay, who notes that it has been almost 30 years since the last comprehensive gathering of works by the artist was seen at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

“I am thrilled that this is the first touring exhibition to be showcased in the new Stieren Center, which was designed to host important shows like this, one that otherwise might bypass San Antonio altogether,” noted Dr. Chiego. “This retrospective also provides a stimulating starting point from which our visitors may consider works by Alexander Calder, Isamu Noguchi, Tony Smith and other modernists, which are on view as well in and around the Stieren.”

Drawn from public and private collections, the 47 sculptures in


George Rickey Kinetic Sculpture: A Retrospective demonstrate Rickey’s expressive use of movement and the relationship of his work with the natural world. Taken together, chronologically, the works illustrate how the artist became more ambitious in scale and technique by the mid 1960s and 1970s. Large-scale works, some as high as 34 feet and intended for the outdoors, will be installed in the sculpture garden of the Stieren Center. There, as the wind moves, so will the geometric forms, creating the kind of poetry of motion that the artist sought for the viewer. “There is a sense of balance and a sense of the romantic in Rickey’s work, as if the artist were moved by the forces of nature and the elegance of pure form,” says Dr. Chiego.

Over the course of this career-long retrospective, the viewer gleans something of Rickey’s delight in destabilizing otherwise stable geometric forms. In “Cluster of Four Cubes” (1991), a tree-like sculpture of brushed steel cubes perched askew on thin steel branches, while in other sculptures long-tapered blades zigzag, stacks and slabs wobble, and circles and shell-like forms spin. And, for Rickey, movement wasn’t enough: the exhibition demonstrates how he sought for dramatic, sometimes excruciating, tension as well. In “Two Red Lines” (1963-1975), as well as in the majority of sculptures on view in the exhibition, moving parts almost collide, their narrow escape inevitably producing a gasp from the viewer.

Finally, from rotors to pendula to “point gimbals” (two rings mounted on axis, at righ tangles, to stabilize an object), 


George Rickey Kinetic Sculpture: A Retrospective presents a variety of mechanical devices unusual in art and seldom seen in an art museum.


George Rickey Kinetic Sculpture: A Retrospective


is accompanied by a fully illustrated publication of the same name, which includes a preface by George Rickey’s son, Philip. Published by Vero Beach Museum of Art (February 2007), the catalogue is available at the McNay’s bookshop and retailers nationwide ($40, hardcover).

The Artist

George Rickey was born in 1907 in South Bend, Indiana, the son of an engineer and the grandson of a clockmaker. Having moved to Scotland with his family at age 6, Rickey was educated in England and France and graduated from Balliol College, Oxford with a degree in history. His interest in things mechanical was heightened during his wartime work in aircraft and gunnery systems research and maintenance.

Trained originally as a painter, George Rickey turned his attention to kinetic sculpture in 1950: it became his lifelong passion. In 1964, his kinetic work


Two Lines Temporal was featured at Documenta III, a significant endorsement of his vision by the leading arbiters of his day. His work is included in prominent museum and private collections worldwide. George Rickey remained an active artist until his death in 2002 at 95 years of age.

The McNay

Built by artist and educator Marion Koogler McNay in the 1920s, the Spanish Colonial Revival-style home opened as Texas’ first museum of modern art in 1954. Today more than 100,000 visitors a year enjoy works by 20th-century masters including Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. In June 2008, the museum opened the 45,000- square-foot Jane and Arthur Stieren Center for Exhibition designed by internationally renowned French architect Jean-Paul Viguier. Nearly doubling the McNay’s exhibition space, the Stieren Center includes three separate outdoor sculpture galleries, the first in South Texas.


Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 am – 4 pm; Thursday, 10 am – 9 pm; Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm; and Sunday, noon – 5 pm. Admission: McNay members – free; Adults – $8; Students 13 and under – $5; Seniors – $5; Active military – $5; Children 12 and under – free.



An additional admission charge applies during select special exhibitions. No charge for general museum admission on Thursdays from 4 to 9 pm and on the first Sunday of the month.

The McNay is closed on Mondays, New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.


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