Buttress by Nancy Davidson, 1997, latex and fabric, 180 inches tall by 53 inches wide by 33 inches deepNancy Davidson (b. 1943, lives in New York)
Buttress, 1997
Latex and fabric
180 inches tall by 53 inches wide by 33 inches deep

Nancy Davidson's inflatable sculptures hilariously expand our usual ideas about sculpture and the meaning and association of three-dimensional forms. Davidson wittily and subversively transforms the chaste, neutral spheres of latex weather balloons by "dressing" them in flamboyant and risqué outfits. The trussed and restricted globes take on a potent erotic and political charge and make us laugh at the same time. Buttress, Davidson's signature piece, is a simultaneously seductive and ironic sculpture that lies somewhere between figurative and minimal art. A towering fifteen-foot column of hot pink balloons strapped into silver lamé hot pants, Buttress mixes references to Brancusi's Endless Column, Donald Judd's minimalist stacked boxes, the bulbous forms of Paleolithic fertility figurines, and some demented S&M version of the Pillsbury doughboy.

A site-specific installation by Nancy Davidson is currently the centerpiece of the Corcoran Gallery's 47th Biennial. Davidson has shown her work extensively in the United States and internationally. Most recently she has had solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia and the Neuberger Museum in New York.