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Arts of North America

Art created in North America includes objects made by native cultures of the present-day United States and Canada; paintings and decorative arts produced during colonial times; 18th- and 19th-century masterpieces; and the work of contemporary artists and photographers.

© The Estate of Jim Love
American, 1927 - 2005
Figure without Brassiere
Steel, cast iron, and lead

14 1/8 x 6 x 6 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Gift of The Friends of Jim Love in honor of Isabel B. Wilson

Arts of North America

Jim Love uncovered the marvelous in everyday, cast-off objects. Figure without Brassiere exemplifies the best of his early work, expressing at once sexual awe and a sophisticated knowledge of Surrealist sculpture and tribal art.

A native of the Texas Panhandle and schooled in set design, Love made Houston his home in 1953. He found the genre of assemblage to be the perfect outlet for his incisive and subversive spirit, assembling totemic figures from found materials such as polishing brushes, plumbing fixtures, and scrap metal. His sculptures combined witty invention with an industrial grit, freely borrowing from popular culture, theater, and literature.

Elaborating on the improvisational nature of his work, the artist said, "In my world there is less planning than might be thought. You keep shuffling things and try to stay alert for whatever it is that might pop up because one thing might suggest something else." As seen in Figure without Brassiere, the joys and sorrows of falling in and out of love were among Love's foremost concerns in his work.