George J. Kafka (American, 1921—1998)

created circa 1980
Patinated and polished bronze, 37" x 25" x 24"
A Gift of the Stuart and Barbara Padnos Foundation
Physical rights are retained by Grand Valley State University. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. Copyright laws.
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About The Artwork

At first glance, this untitled sculpture by George J. Kafka does not appear to share many attributes with his other work in the Padnos Collection. While Untitled (Arc Cubes on Column) is comprised of polished stainless steel cubes, the present work incorporates freeform swirls of ribbon-like bronze. That the artist could work in such varying styles simultaneously is a testament to his experimental temperament as well as the pluralism of the late 1970s and early eighties in American art.

In fact, the two sculptures share a key element: their kinetic quality. Both works rotate on a central axis that causes the sculpture to produce differing relationships between positive and negative space. Twentieth century artists took sculpture off of the display pedestal and moved it increasingly into the viewers’ space in various manners. Alexander Calder experimented with movement through his mobiles as well as kinetic works, and other artists such as George Rickey and Mark di Suvero followed Calder’s lead. Kafka’s kinetic work continues this exploration of space and time in three-dimensional art.


Assistant Professor, Frederik Meijer Honors College, Grand Valley State University



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