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Gallery Text

One of the strongest responses to the expressive abstract painting of the 1950s known as informel came from the Düsseldorf artists’ group ZERO, which Uecker joined in 1961. Members of the first generation to come of age in postwar Germany, ZERO artists sought to revitalize art through radical simplification. Adopting a minimalist vocabulary, they explored unconventional materials and new forms, producing objects, environments, and actions. Their interest in the intersection between art and nature led many to experiment with light. The nail, which functioned as a light modulator when used as a relief element, became Uecker’s primary material. Like his other nail-studded mobiles, Gliding Glide incorporates gentle movement. The sphere’s ability to turn, and the viewer’s own orbital movements, activate a delicate interplay between light and shadow, while the sharp, fixed point of the nail below reasserts an element of aggression.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Günther Uecker, German (Wendorf, Germany born 1930)
Gliding Glide
Work Type
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

sphere: 15.6 cm (6 1/8 in.)
nail: 21 cm (8 1/4 in.)
base: 27.9 × 60 cm (11 × 23 5/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: in black ink on underside of base: G Uecker
  • inscription: underside of base, black ink, in artist's hand: Schwebend, Schweben
  • inscription: underside of base, black ink, in artist's hand: Kugel 1959 [64 inscribed above 59]

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, Association Fund
© Günther Uecker / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Germany
Accession Year
Object Number
Modern and Contemporary Art

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Publication History

  • Dieter Honisch, Uecker, Klett-Cotta (Stuttgart, Germany, 1983), no. 391
  • Peter Nisbet and Joseph Koerner, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, ed. Peter Nisbet, Harvard University Art Museums and Scala Publishers Ltd. (Cambridge, MA and London, England, 2007), p. 51

Exhibition History

  • German Sculpture, 1500 - 1960: A New Installation, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 09/05/1984 - 12/31/1984
  • German Sculpture from the Permanent Collection, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 01/21/1986 - 03/10/1986
  • Basic Research: A Selection of Postwar German Painting and Sculpture, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 09/20/2003 - 04/09/2006
  • 32Q: 1100 60’s Experiment, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 04/07/2017

Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Modern and Contemporary Art at