Harry Bertoia (American, 1915–1978), Untitled, c. 1968–69, Brass, 56 1/2 x 11 7/8 x 12 in. Woodmere Art Museum: Gift from the collection of Harry and Catherine Kuch, 1987.

Come to the Beans Gallery to see art with your eyes, and hear it with your ears!

This unusual multi-sensory gallery experience is brought to you thanks to Harry Bertoia’s unique and intriguing “Sonambient” sculptures, now on view in the exhibition “Harry Bertoia: Structure & Sound“.

Born into a musically inclined family, Bertoia was naturally drawn to music from a young age.  His father and brother both played the accordion, and Bertoia often wished that there were an instrument that everyone could play without needing any training. This thought stayed with him all through his life and as an adult, he experimented with creating sound. In his studio one day, he was bending a single heavy wire creating a sculpture, when it hit another wire piece and a wonderful noise was emitted.  This got Harry thinking about what would it would sound like if more wires hit each other, and thus began his adventure of the “Sonambient”, which is the environment created by sounding sculptures.  He never made the same piece twice, and he went to great lengths to set up the rods in the ideal order to create the most pleasing and lasting sounds.

We are fortunate to have these “Sonambient” Tonal sculptures as part of this exhibition, along with Bertoia’s  jewelry, prints and furniture pieces, as well.  Please make sure to visit this beautifully layered exhibit and connect with the multidimensional artist and man, Harry Bertoia. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, our docents  play these sculptures for you-an experience you will not want to miss.


You can learn even more about Harry Bertoia by visiting his website.


-Sumreen Z Chaudhry, New Media and Interpretation Assistant