David Deming & Borrow-A-Bronze
April 18, 2023 - August 25, 2023
We are honored to display two exhibitions of outstanding American sculptors who were colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin. The first celebrates David Deming, internationally known for his large-scale public art. Born in Cleveland in 1943, Deming was awed by the region’s steel and manufacturing industries. He attended the Cleveland Institute of Art (BFA) and the famed Cranbrook Academy of Art (MFA). In 1972 he began an illustrious UT teaching and administrative career, working in the shadow of Charles Umlauf, who had run the sculpture department since 1941. The relationship was at first competitive, but Deming’s expertise and cheerful, professional attitude eventually won Umlauf over. They worked together as colleagues and friends for over a decade.
“I love to weld. Working in metal, to me, is as fluid as working in clay.” Deming’s passion is demonstrated through his colossal, geometric steel abstractions, columnar assemblages, steel flower arrangements, strikingly realistic bronze portraits, and scrap metal dogs (don’t miss his endearing self-portrait). He moves effortlessly between abstraction and representation, as evidenced by his four distinctive abstract series and his life-like sculptures. In the gallery one can see his study for an 8-foot sculpture of Jim Brown, one of the greatest football players in NFL history, and a portrait of Charles Umlauf, created as a gift to the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden + Museum.
In 1998, Deming’s alma mater recruited him to be the President and CEO of the Cleveland Institute of Art. He has held hundreds of exhibitions, with work in over 150 public and private permanent collections. Since retiring in 2010, his creative pace has only accelerated. This show was inspired by the temporary loan of his magisterial Eagle II (1976), on view in the back of the Garden. This sculpture makes a remarkable comparison with Charles Umlauf’s Eagle (1968), located in the parking area.
The second exhibition celebrates Borrow-A-Bronze, the Museum’s art rental program that features objects by Charles Umlauf (1910-1994) from our permanent collection. Individuals and companies can closely experience these sculptures for extended periods by borrowing them from the UMLAUF. Lending sculpture lets us share our rich collection and offer greater access to the art, while supporting our efforts to conserve and care for the permanent collection.
Through these exhibitions viewers can compare two virtuoso sculptors. Each artist, for example, made a series called Lovers, showing their shared affinity for the subject. (Be sure to see more of Umlauf’s Lovers in the Garden.) But while Umlauf specialized in cast bronze figures, Deming playfully explores a wider variety of techniques and materials. Part of this can be attributed to generational differences, but also to their distinct artistic personalities. We are honored to be able to exhibit both artists’ work and are grateful to David Deming for his cooperation and generosity.