Discover the Difference

The Nicole Eisenman Sculptures


One of the most well-known current painters in the art world is Nicole Eisenman. Her prints, installations, and paintings have earned her recognition. Her sculptures, though, are just as striking and remarkable.

Eisenman’s Career

‘Heads, Kisses, Battles: Nicole Eisenman and the Moderns’, ‘Nicole Eisenman. Giant Without a Body’ in Oslo, Norway, and ‘Nicole Eisenman and Keith Boadwee’ in New York City are just a few of the recent solo shows. ‘Sturm und Drang’ in Austin, Texas; ‘Baden Baden Baden’ in Germany; ‘Now or Never’ in Vienna, Austria; and ‘Al-ugh-ories’ in New York City are a few other noteworthy exhibitions.

Her art has been included in prestigious exhibitions, such as Women Painting Women at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in 2022. She has also shown sculptures in prestigious events such the 58th Venice Biennale, the 2017 Skulptur Projekte Münster, and the 2019 Whitney Biennial.

Nicole Eisenman has received prestigious grants and awards over her career, including the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996, the Carnegie Prize in 2013, the Anonymous Was a Woman Award in 2014, and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant in 1995. 

The Sculptures

Eisenman’s contemporary sculpture features inventive uses of everyday objects, such as metal trash-can covers transformed into mirrors and a fog machine adding a touch of humor. 

Eisenman’s attention to detail extends to incorporating commonplace items that characterize her figures, like New York Giants socks and Bumblebee tuna cans. Through “Procession” and “Sketch for a Fountain,” Eisenman has developed a concept capable of encompassing diverse elements, demonstrating her versatility and creativity as an artist.

Nicole Eisenman’s sculpture “Procession” stood out in the 2019 Whitney Biennial for its bold and diverse nature. Comprised of 11 figures and various objects, the piece garnered attention for its imaginative and irreverent qualities. Eisenman, primarily known as a painter, demonstrated her versatility as a sculptor, a rarity in the art world. While the concept of painter/sculptors diminished in the 1960s with the rise of Minimalism, Eisenman revitalizes it with her larger-than-life figures and multi-figure compositions, reminiscent of historical art forms. “Procession” endured the elements surprisingly well during the exhibition, showcasing Eisenman’s skill and innovation.

“Sketch for a Fountain,” a sculpture ensemble by Nicole Eisenman, features two works in bronze and three in plaster, portraying figures seemingly enjoying a hot summer’s day with a gender-fluid appearance. One bronze figure stands in a pool with water spouting from its leg, while another holds a beer. Eisenman intentionally chose a site in a residential neighborhood near a school, where children could play in the fountain discreetly. Drawing from art history, Eisenman updates classics like Maillol’s 

“River” and Lachaise’s “Standing Woman,” incorporating queer bodies and contemporary elements like a beer can reminiscent of Jasper Johns’s work. The installation aims to provide a space for relaxation and contemplation, with benches for visitors. Eisenman’s practice demonstrates remarkable flexibility, with variations of the fountain theme adapted for different locations, including Boston and Dallas. At the Whitney Biennial, her “Procession” installation encourages viewer interaction, blurring the line between art and life, and she insisted on a specific location to showcase the skyline of Manhattan.

In “Procession,” Nicole Eisenman incorporates various elements, some permanent, others temporary, and a few specifically created for the exhibition. Among these are alien-like “walkers” and unusual heads on shipping crates, evoking a hybrid reminiscent of the bar scene in the original Star Wars movie. 

One of her notable sculptures, “Sketch for a Fountain,” created in 2012, was acquired by the Nasher Sculpture Center in 2019, with funding from the Kaleta A. Doolin Acquisitions Fund for Women Artists and the Green Family Collection.


Nicole Eisenman’s diverse artistic practice, spanning drawing, painting, and sculpture, with a focus on her unconventional and mysterious three-dimensional works, blends influences from Western art history with activism, queer humor, and emotional depth, resulting in uniquely profound creations. 

While she initially gained recognition as a painter in New York City during the early 1990s, her recent shift towards sculpture adds another dimension to her oeuvre. Both indoor and outdoor, these sculptures deviate from conventional forms and themes, frequently showcasing allegorical compositions that mirror those in her paintings.

Eisenman’s work has expanded to include a wide variety of media and themes over the course of her nearly three-decade career, reflecting her continuous investigation of artistic expression. 

Photo Credit: “Nicole Eisenman’s Beach Runner @moma #moma #painting #art #nyc” by AnnahojY.

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