New York, Museum of Modern Art, Sixteen Americans, December 1959 - February 1960
The present work, Dawn's Wedding Feast, Column VI was one of the totemic inhabitants of this coolly abstracted, monochromatic environment. The title itself recalls the "rosy fingered dawn" epithet oft used to describe the promising beginning of Odysseus's epic journey in the Odyssey, perhaps suggesting Nevelson's acute awareness that the inclusion in this seminal exhibition was a promising new beginning for her career. Further, there was a dichotomous relationship to the eponymous title which was personally referential for Nevelson, as she ended a fractious marriage in 1941. As much as Nevelson's use of black had a specific function for her, so too was the radical use of pure white. Its application for the environment was intentional and deliberate as she stated, "It was, a kind of wish fulfillment, a transition to a marriage with the world." (Exh. Cat., The Sculpture of Louise Nevelson: Constructing a Legend, New York, The Jewish Museum, 2007, p. 45) The color may have been different but the function for Nevelson was the same, a homogenous and simple color owning the hefty task of uniting disparate and heterogeneous elements into a oneness and sameness.
Although Nevelson had hoped that the environment would have been acquired by an institution in its entirety, it failed to do so. Dawn's Wedding Feast was dismantled and individual works were sold to institutions and private collectors; others were reconfigured and traveled on to be exhibited as part of the installation Voyage, the white environment exhibited at the American Pavilion of the Venice Biennale in 1962.
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