Robert Murray: Sculpture
by Jonathan D. Lippincott

Robert Murray grew up in western Canada and moved to New York City in 1960. Quickly establishing himself as an important young artist, he took part in the renaissance of modern sculpture and public art that unfolded over the following decades. Murray was particularly innovative in his use of industrial fabrication methods to create his pieces and in his deep investigation of landscape as inspiration for abstract sculpture. His synthesis of the rich tradition of landscape painting in Canada and the exciting vision of New York abstract expressionist and color-field painters has resulted in an extraordinary and unique body of work. Murray was awarded the Order of Canada in 2000 and received the Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation Grant Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2018.

Robert Murray: Sculpture includes photographs of nearly two hundred works that span the artist’s career, seen in galleries, museums, and private collections, at public outdoor exhibitions, in his studios, and in the workshops of his fabricators. Jonathan D. Lippincott’s introduction and interview with Murray cover the sculptor’s process of working with fabricators and foundries, issues of public art and the siting of sculpture, Murray’s early years, his close friendship with Barnett Newman and relationships with other artists, his lifelong interest in flying, and more, insightfully illuminating both the work and the life of this remarkable sculptor. 

Jonathan D. Lippincott studied studio art and art history at Swarthmore College, graduating in 1989. Over the next few years he worked at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts as a cook and handyman, at the Yale University Art Gallery as an art handler, and as a dessert baker in Providence, RI. He moved to New York City in 1993 to begin work in publishing, and a year later joined Farrar, Straus and Giroux, where he is now design manager. Since 2000 he has also worked independently as an art director and a designer on a range of illustrated books about architecture, landscape, and fine art. His primary client has been Library of American Landscape History, where he now serves as assistant director. He has written about art for The Paris Review Daily, On-Verge, and Tether: A Journal of Art, Literature, and Culture, and curated shows including the eightieth-anniversary exhibition for American Abstract Artists. He is the author of Large Scale: Fabricating Sculpture in the 1960s and 1970s. Learn more at

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