The Art World’s Erasure of a Revolutionary Japanese-American Artist

Leo Amino, “Refractional #85” (1972) (© the Estate of Leo Amino, courtesy the Estate of Leo Amino and David Zwirner)

Between 1947 and ’62, the sculptor Leo Amino (1911–1989) had work in all but two Whitney Annuals, the precursor to the Whitney Biennial. Because Josef Albers recognized something special about his work, during those years Amino taught at Black Mountain College (1948-50), befriending his student Kenneth Noland, and at Cooper Union (1952-1975), where he introduced his student Jack Whitten to the possibilities of sculpture. And yet, by the time I reviewed his exhibition, Polymorphic Sculpture: Leo Amino’s Experiments in Three Dimensions, at the Zimmerli Museum (October 20, 2018–April 12, 2020), organized by Donna Gustafson, Curator of American Art and Mellon Director for Academic Programs, Amino was all but forgotten.

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