Sidney Gordin American, 1918-1996


Sidney Gordin developed his sculptural focus during the height of the Abstract Expressionist movement in New York City. He worked uniquely and simultaneously as both a sculptor and painter, moving seamlessly back and forth between media. Gordin skillfully melded the inherent linear focus of his Russian Constructivist background with the expressive influence of the Abstract Expressionists. Elements of Cubism and Futurism can also be found in his sculptures. The art critic Alfred Frankenstein of the former San Francisco Chronicle wrote of Gordin in 1958: “No one knows more about the visual meaning of the curve, the line, the twist, and the angle, and no one handles these resources more tellingly."


Born in Russia, Gordin emigrated to the United States in 1922 and graduated from the Cooper Union School of Art in 1941. From there, he established a solid reputation in New York City before moving to the West Coast; he enjoyed solo shows at the esteemed Grace Borgenicht Gallery as well as at the Peter Cooper Gallery and The New School. His groundbreaking abstract metal and wire constructions were part of two shows at the Museum of Modern Art in 1953 and 1960, and three similar shows were held at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1959, 1961, and 1962 that included examples of his work. His pieces were markedly sophisticated, yet forceful in the space they occupied. Thomas Albright wrote in his Art in the San Francisco Bay Area: 1945-1980:


Gordin shifted between painted wooden constructions that resembled miniature Mondrianesque architectures, with quirky Art Deco touches, and small organic abstractions in bronze that were playfully acrobatic drawings in space.


In 1958, he moved in to San Francisco and became an integral part of the Bay Area art scene, as well as a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He never completely abandoned his connection to the East Coast, and continued to show his works at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Zabriskie Gallery, and in Provincetown, Massachusetts where he maintained a studio. He is remembered as a consummate craftsman, visionary, and teacher.


Sculptors Guild Associate Member, Provincetown Art Association, 1959

American Abstract Artists, 1959

Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors, 1959

Associate Member, National Academy of Design, 1992

Member, National Academy of Design, 1993


Grace Borgenicht Gallery, New York, 1951-1958, 1960-1965

Bennington College, Vermont, 1952

Peter Cooper Gallery, New York, 1952

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1951, American Sculpture, 1952

New School, New York

Whitney Museum, Annual Exhibitions, 1952-1963, 1978, 1980, 1985, 1989, 1991-1993, 1995

Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1952; From Sketch to Sculpture, 1953; 1954, 1959-1960; Recent Sculptures USA, 1960

Art Institute of Chicago, 1954, 1962

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 1954

Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1955

Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri, 1955, 1959

Riverside Art Museum, New York, 1955-7, 1960-61

San Francisco Museum of Modern art, California, 1955, 1960, 1963-64, 1966-67, 1969

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, 1956

Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX, 1957

Dilexi Gallery, San Francisco, 1958 (solo, 1959, 1961-3, 1965

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, 1959-1960

Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT, 1957

Brooklyn Museum, New York, 1958

Provincetown Art Association and Museum, MA, 1958-9, 1964-5, 1994

Denver Art Museum, Colorado, 1959

Los Angeles County Museum, California, 1959

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1959-60

Whitney Museum, Annual Exhibitions, Precisionist View in American Art, 1961

Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT, 1961

Scripps College, Claremont, CA, 1961

Whitney Museum of American Art, Annual Exhibitions, Sculpture and Drawing, 1962

Whitney Museum of American Art, Geometric Abstraction in America, 1962

M.H. De Young Memorial Museum, retrospective, 1962

Newark Museum, New Jersey, 1962, 1968

Berkeley Art Venter, California, 1963, 1970-71, 1984-85

Oakland Museum 1963, 1970-71, 1984, Art in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1985

Portland Art Museum, West Coast Now, 1968, 1996

Seattle Art Museum, West Coast Now, 1969

M.H. De Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, West Coast Now, 1968

Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, West Coast Now, 1968

Newspace Gallery, Los Angeles, 1977, 1979, 1984, 1985, 1987

Zabriskie Gallery, New York, 1979

Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco, 1981, 1984, 1988, 1990-91, 1994, 2000

Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, IL, 1988

Cultural Center of the United States, West Coast Artists, Tel Aviv

National Academy of Design, NY, 1993-4

Galerie Sho, 16 California Artists, Tokyo, 1994

Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1994

Art Institute of Chicago

Brooklyn Museum, New York

Museums and Public Collections

Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

Art Institute of Chicago, IL

Baltimore Museum of Art, OH

Boca Raton Museum of Art, FL

Brooklyn Museum, NY

Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, VA

Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA

Milwaukee Art Museum, WI

Newark Museum, NJ

Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Utah State University, UT

Oakland Museum, CA

Provincetown Art Association and Museum, MA

St. Louis Museum of Art, MO

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA

Security Pacific National Bank, Los Angeles, CA

Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL

Weatherspoon Art Gallery, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC

Whitney Museum of American Art, NY

William A. Farnsworth Library and Art Museum, Rockland, ME

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