Bisbee’s ‘American Steel’ opens at CMCA

Jun 22, 2018
John Bisbee’s “American Steel” (detail shown) is a 2018 welded nails installation.

Rockland — The Center for Maine Contemporary Art, 21 Winter St., will open the last of its three summer exhibitions Saturday, June 30. “John Bisbee: American Steel,” the first solo exhibition in Maine of the sculptor’s work in nearly a decade, will run through Oct. 14.

Bisbee, a resident of Brunswick, is celebrated for his masterful work created exclusively from forged and welded nails — as he says, "only nails, always different" — transforming their simple form into sculptures that defy the imagination.

Constructed entirely by hand using age-old techniques, Bisbee’s objects draw on a deep well of American historical and vernacular imagery. “American Steel” offers a statement on current affairs; the work is, in Bisbee's words, "an abstraction of who are we are, right now.”

Bisbee has had more than two dozen solo exhibitions across the country since 1993, including at Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, N.Y.; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Mo.; Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, Vt.; Snite Museum of Art at University of Notre Dame, Indiana; and a mid-career retrospective in 2008 at the Portland Museum of Art.

The exhibition and the accompanying catalog are made possible through the generous support of the Roxanne Quimby Foundation; and supporters John and Linda Coleman, James and Lisa Mooney, Robert and Elizabeth Nanovic, David E. Shaw Family Foundation and Cold Mountain Builders.

“John Bisbee: American Steel” joins “Jocelyn Lee: The Appearance of Things,” which opened Jun 16; and “Tom Burckhardt: Studio Flood,” which opened June 9. All three artists will be feted during CMCA's annual summer fundraising gala, The Art Party, set for Friday evening, June 29. The event celebrates CMCA's two-year anniversary in its new location and building designed by internationally acclaimed architect Toshiko Mori. Tickets to The Art Party, and the After The Art Party, are available online at or by calling 701-5005.

Summer hours are Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $8, $6 for those 65 and older and students with ID; and free for children younger than 18 and CMCA members. Note that the galleries are partially closed for installation through June 29.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or

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