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William King

Circus Interstate Sunrise




DIMENSIONS: 23 x 11 x 7 feet
DATE: 2007
LOCATION: Mid-America Center, west arena entrance




DIMENSIONS: 15.5 x 7 x 8 feet
DATE: 2007
LOCATION: South 24th Street & Mid-American Drive, adjacent to Interstate 80




DIMENSIONS: 24 x 6 x 6 feet
DATE: 2007
LOCATION: Mid-America Center, convention center entrance


William King’s Statements about his work

Circus: “We’ve all seen it, one time or another — the two of us in perfect equilibrium, perfect understanding — BALANCE! And plenty of it!”

Interstate: “Major crossroads, right there, and here comes the most wonderful-looking roadster and just look who’s at the wheel! Wow!”

Sunrise: “That’s them: the original sod-busters! Doesn’t show how hard they’ve worked, or what awaits them. BUT — how about ‘indomitable’? Or just plain ‘AGRICULTURE’?”


“Aluminum and Steel”
by Hilton Kramer
Originally published in the catalog William King by Terry Dintenfass, Inc.

 The sculptor who, like King, places his work in such close proximity to familiar experience is not absolved, however, from the obligation to create a formal language of his own. On the contrary. His success in drawing upon the commonplace grammar of gesture is wholly dependent on his gift for invention—a gift for creating sculptural forms that make us feel we are seeing this grammar of gesture as if for the first time, with new eyes, and experiencing the force of its emotion with a new response. And he can achieve this result only by bringing something new to the medium in which he works.

This, I think, is what King has succeeded in doing since he began to produce his large, open-air aluminum sculptures in the late sixties. He has always had a shrewd—and sometimes surprising—eye for judging the exact expressive weight of each material or technique he employs, and it has served him well in this new enterprise. For in carrying his sculpture into an open-air scale and ambiance, he resisted the usual temptation to make it heavier and more ponderous. The use of bronze, with its traditional associations of the monumental, would clearly have been a disaster. As it turned out, an essential lightness and delicacy was preserved and strengthened. These sculptures have a large, robust, outdoor reach, and yet the easy sociability of King’s style—and its marvelous good humor—are beautifully sustained at this new scale.


William King was born in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1925, and grew up in Coconut Grove, Miami. He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was President of the National Academy of Design between 1994 and 1998. King died on March 4, 2015, at the age of 90.

King’s earliest one-person shows were with the Alan Gallery, New York, beginning in 1954. The majority of his subsequent New York exhibitions were with the Terry Dintenfass Gallery. In 2007, King was honored by the International Sculpture Center with the ISC Lifetime Achievement Award.

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