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Delivery (Lieferung)

Franz West, Austrian, 1947 - 2012

Made in Vienna, Austria, Europe


Papier-mâché, gauze, plaster, paint, wood

[1]: 20 1/8 x 8 1/2 x 11 3/8 inches (51.1 x 21.6 x 28.9 cm) [2]: 27 3/4 x 12 5/8 x 9 7/8 inches (70.5 x 32.1 x 25.1 cm) [3]: 20 1/8 x 12 5/8 x 11 3/4 inches (51.1 x 32.1 x 29.8 cm) [4]: 31 1/8 x 13 x 8 5/8 inches (79.1 x 33 x 21.9 cm) [5]: 21 5/8 x 15 x 10 1/4 inches (54.9 x 38.1 x 26 cm)

© The legal successor of Franz West

Curatorial Department:
Contemporary Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with funds contributed by the Committee on Twentieth-Century Art, 1998

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Extreme sophistication merges with the informal, and at times the abject, in Franz West's work. He puts the material quality of his art on display, revealing how art is first and foremost matter transformed, but always matter nonetheless. Delivery is both joyful and ironic in its celebration of color, arbitrariness, and sheer playfulness. Its unexpected beauty comes from its studied casualness and the assertive singularity of each object. The viewer gets the impression that combining irony and beauty is not only possible, but also somehow natural. West came of age as an artist during the heyday of the Vienna Actionists, whose gory sensationalism he disliked. He was, nonetheless, imbued with the sense of art as something to be engaged with the body, actively produced and experienced.

Additional information:
  • PublicationTwentieth-Century Painting and Sculpture in the Philadelphia Museum of Art

    The name of this work suggests the good-natured spirit that Franz West has brought to the contemporary art world. Long promised as the centerpiece of an exhibition opening in Portugal, it arrived at the very last moment, bearing this modest but cheerfully triumphant title. The five-part sculpture incorporates works West had made in the past as well as completely new components. The pink element, for example, was new; the tall yellow element was an older piece the artist modified with a wrapping of yellow duct tape; and the rabbit-shaped unit dates from a decade earlier.

    West came of age during the heyday of the Vienna Aktionists, a group of physically aggressive, often violent performance artists in his native city. West disliked the Aktionists gory sensationalism, but he was imbued with the sense of art as something to be engaged with the body, actively produced and experienced. He called his first sculptural objects, made in the mid-1970s, passtücke, or in an approximate translation, "adaptives." The passtücke had no pedestals and were meant to be moved around freely by the viewer. By the mid-1980s, West also made sculptures that are not participatory but retain the bulbous informality, seemingly accidental surfaces, and friendly scale of the passtücke.

    Displayed on narrow pedestals, the components of Delivery persuasively take their place in the family of sculpture, whether Roman portrait busts or the slender figures of Alberto Giacometti. But at the same time they are willfully and merrily different in their humble misshapenness and kindergarten colors, implicitly declaring that art can meet people at an ordinary level, not as something sublime and sacred. Twentieth Century Painting and Sculpture in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2000), p. 152.

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