Detail: George Segal, Chance Meeting, 1989; full image below
Chance Meeting (1989)
Our newest Permanent Collection acquisition for the John and Joyce Caddell Sculpture Garden is Chance Meeting (1989) by American artist George Segal (1924–2000).
Segal’s sculptures sensitively portray life-sized figures in everyday encounters, often on city streets and connected to found objects from urban environments. In Chance Meeting, Segal placed a man and two women standing and engaging in conversation on a street corner under a post with intersecting “One Way” street signs. Segal’s arrangement of the figures, along with the title, suggests that this is an unexpected encounter between three friends or acquaintances. It is a chance meeting, one that may or may not change or influence the direction that each person takes. Segal’s work thrives on this ambiguity, and his pieces provide a glimpse into the human psyche.
Originally an abstract painter, Segal become known for his sculpture which he began making in 1958, and by 1961, he hit upon his signature process: using gauze and plaster bandages to cast from live models, mainly family and friends—his daughter Rena is the model for the woman in high heels in Chance Meeting. Segal received his Bachelor of Arts in Art Education from NYU in 1949 and was part of a circle of prominent artists that included Alan Kaprow, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Donald Judd, and Robert Morris. His work was included in the 1962 New Realists exhibition, which helped define Pop Art, a movement with which he became loosely associated. Since that time, Segal’s sculptures have been exhibited and collected by numerous museums worldwide.