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

Hayward Gallery

Hayward Gallery, 29 May – 13 July 1975

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. 

Handwritten list of possible exhibitors

Press release for The Condition of Sculpture.

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.

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.’

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

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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