The Condition of Sculpture: A Selection of Recent Sculpture by Younger British and Foreign Artists

Hayward Gallery, 29 May – 13 July 1975

By Hayward Gallery

Jeff Lowe, Sculpture (November 1975). Installation View: The Condition of Sculpture: A selection of recent sculpture by younger British and Foreign artists, Hayward Gallery, 1975. Photo: Heini Shneebeil (1975) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

An International Exhibition of Contemporary Sculpture 

In 1975 the Hayward Gallery held an international exhibition of contemporary sculpture, selected by British sculptor William Tucker. The Condition of Sculpture featured 41 artists. Roughly half of these were from the UK, while the other half were from the United States, Germany and the Netherlands. Each artist in the exhibition was represented by a single work. Three artists – Carl Andre, Richard Serra and David van der Kop – were invited to make new works specifically for the exhibition. 

List of Possible Exhibitors for The Condition of Sculpture, Hayward Gallery (1975) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Handwritten list of possible exhibitors

Press Release for The Condition of Sculpture, Hayward Gallery Press Release for The Condition of Sculpture, Hayward Gallery (1975) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Press release for The Condition of Sculpture.

Private View Card for The Condition of Sculpture, Hayward Gallery, Hayward Gallery, 1975, From the collection of: Hayward Gallery
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Catalogue for The Condition of Sculpture: A Selection of Recent Sculpture by Younger British and Foreign artists, Hayward Gallery, Hayward Gallery, 1975, From the collection of: Hayward Gallery
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David Evison, Number Six (1975) and Larry Bell Untitled (1971/72). Installation View: The Condition of Sculpture: A Selection of Recent Sculpture by Younger British and Foreign artists, Hayward Gallery, 1975 (1975) by Larry BellHayward Gallery

Writing in the exhibition catalogue, William Tucker explained that his aim was to introduce the British public to a new generation of artists, as well as to stimulate international debate about the state of contemporary sculpture.

Tim Scott, Counterpoint XXI (1974). Installation view: The Condition of Sculpture: A selection of recent sculpture by younger British and Foreign artists, Hayward Gallery, 1975. Photo: Heini Shneebeil (1975) by Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

In a postcard to the selector, Carl Andre urged Tucker to reconsider the age constraints: ‘To limit the entrants to the living is sensible but I would hope you might include a lot of old codgers too – I hope to be one someday.’

Sketch of David van de Kop's work for The Condition of Sculpture, Hayward GalleryHayward Gallery

Installation sketch for David van der Kop's sculpture on one of Hayward Gallery's sculpture terraces.

David van de Kop, Landscape (1974), Installation View: The Condition of Sculpture: A selection of recent sculpture by younger British and Foreign artists, Hayward Gallery, 1975. Photo: Heini Shneebeil (1975) by David van de KopHayward Gallery

Press Cutting for The Condition of Sculpture: A Selection of Recent Sculpture by Younger British and Foreign artists, Hayward Gallery, 1975 (1975-06) by Edward Lucie-SmithHayward Gallery

Response, criticism and legacy

The Condition of Sculpture did stimulate debate, though not always in the manner that William Tucker had intended. The gender imbalance among the selection – 36 men to 4 women – was referenced by the artist Liliane Lijn in her proposal for an exhibition of women’s art at the Hayward Gallery that led to the all-female selection committee for the 1978 Hayward Annual, while the 1993 Hayward Gallery exhibition Gravity and Grace: The Changing Condition of Sculpture was intended as a direct riposte to Tucker’s argument and approach.

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