George Rickey installs his retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of Art in New York (Sep 7–Oct 4, 1979). Photo by Achim Pahle.
George Rickey (1907-2002) was an American artist, best known for his large-scale moving sculptures. Many of his artworks were designed to be seen outside, made of shiny stainless steel that reflects its changing surroundings, and naturally powered by breezes. You may have heard the term STEAM at school, combining Science +Technology + Engineering + Art + Mathematics. George was a STEAM artist!
George was born in South Bend, Indiana. His father was a mechanical engineer and his grandfather was a clockmaker, and they both encouraged his childhood interest in figuring out how things work and move. Rickey studied painting and drawing at school. He became an art teacher and an artist, working and living for much of his life in upstate New York.
George Rickey with his father, Walter, Helensburgh, Scotland, 1915.
One holiday when he was a child, his father gave George a steam engine. He recalled:
“Together, we assembled it, and I learnt the principles of the crank, valves and pistons then. As a boy, my clear purpose was to be an engineer.”