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Able Charlie

Finished in 1983

by: Kenneth Snelson
Medium: Stainless Steel
Dimensions: 11 x 13 ½ x 11 ¼ feet


Joslyn Art Museum Sculpture Garden 2200 Dodge Street
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seven tubes are suspended in a midair around a central vertical element

Additional Information

Snelson’s work has some consonance with the sculpture of minimalist artists working in the 1960s and 1970s. Preferring materials in their purest state, Snelson used uncolored and untextured stainless steel and aluminum to achieve monumental pieces up to 100 feet on their longest axis that seemed capable of infinite expansion. While the calculations necessary to take dozens of tubes and yards of cable and weave them into an integrated sculpture of taut lines would seem to require the expertise of an engineer, Snelson’s mathematics are, in fact, purely intuitive. Able Charlie demonstrates structural forces of tension and compression. The airy web of lines seems delicate and fragile, yet the physical force binding them together amounts to several hundred pounds of pressure per square inch. Given to the Joslyn museum by Phebe F. Miller in memory of Max A. Miller, E. Stanton Miller, II, and Nancy K. Miller, 1983