John Chamberlain American, 1927-2011


Born April 16, 1927, in Rochester, Indiana, Chamberlain grew up in Chicago and later attended the Art Institute of Chicago from 1951 to 1952. At that time, he began making flat, welded sculpture, influenced by the work of David Smith. By 1957, he began to include scrap metal from cars in his work, and from 1959 onward he concentrated on sculpture built entirely of crushed automobile parts welded together. In 1960, Chamberlain had his first major solo exhibition, held at the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York.


 Chamberlain showed frequently at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York, and in 1964 his work was exhibited at the Venice Biennale. While he continued to make sculpture from auto parts, Chamberlain also experimented with other mediums such as urethane foam, heat-crumpled plexiglass, and even photography.


In 1993, Chamberlain received both the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture and the Lifetime Achievement Award in Contemporary Sculpture from the International Sculpture Center, in Washington, D.C. 


Until the time of his death in 2011, Chamberlain lived and maintained a studio on Shelter Island, New York.