* 1927 Rochester/Indiana
† 2011 New York
John Chamberlain, who was active as object artist and sculptor, painter and graphic artist, photographer and film maker, counts among the most versatile personalities of Northern American post-war art. His art shows tendencies of Pop Art, Abstract Expressionism and Nouveau Réalisme.
John Angus Chamberlain was born at Rochester in 1927. In 1931 the young boy moved to Chicago, where he grew up with his grandmother. Between 1943 and 1946 John Chamberlain served in the US Navy.
In 1948 John Angus Chamberlain relocated to Detroit/Michigan, where he began an apprentice as hairdresser in 1950, additionally, he also took classes at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1951/52.
After some years in the barber business he enrolled at Black Mountain College in North Carolina (1955/56), where John Chamberlain came in contact with many important artists of the epoch.
In 1956 John Chamberlain moved to New York where he soon attained his characteristic style: Using damaged car body parts made John Chamberlain one of the earliest and most important representatives of Junk Art and laid the basis of his fame. His first solo show followed as early as in 1957.
In 1963 John Angus Chamberlain moved to Embudo in New Mexico, and returned to New York in 1965, before he settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico in1966, where he mostly worked on sculptures of fiberglass and urethane foam. After his return to New York in 1967 he made steel sculptures, in 1968 he shot his first film ("Wedding Night"), further experiments in this medium followed.
In 1972 John Angus Chamberlain retired to a ranch in Amarillo, where he made the so-called Texas Pieces. But he couldn't stay in the countryside for long: in 1974 John Chamberlain went to New York again and became occupied with graphic techniques.
The restless John Angus Chamberlain found a new home on a houseboat in Sarasota in Florida in 1980 and once again became occupied with sculptures made of various materials.
In 1995 John Chamberlain suffered a heart attack, however, it did not stop him from working on ever new projects. From that point on he was mostly occupied with photography.
John Chamberlain's works are in possession of renowned international collections and the artist has been honored with numerous large exhibitions as of the early 1970s: A grand retrospective took place at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1971, another important show followed at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles in1986, in 1991 a comprehensive exhibition was shown at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden and the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden.
In 2011 John Chamberlain died in New York.