Nevelson is the leading sculptor of the 20th century. An immigrant refugee fleeing pogroms in her native Ukraine, Nevelson was brought by her parents to Rockland, Maine.
From an early age Nevelson was intent on becoming a sculptor, marry and move to New York. She is best known for wooden assemblages of discarded objects found on the streets of New York painted uniformly in black or white, with a brief period in gold spray paint.
Nevelson's career stretches across nearly her entire lifespan. Travel and study in Europe and study at the Art Student League in the New York City is evident in her early works inspired by surrealism and cubism.
She established her trademark style in the 1950s, expanding that with amazing creativity until her death forty years later. With her Moon Garden + One installation at the former Grand Central Moderns Gallery, Nevelson invented the idea of sculpture presented as complete environment.
Nevelson championed public art. At the beginning of her career she was one of a large number of artists working nation-wide in depression-era WPA initiatives. As part of this program she taught art in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Nevelson returned to public projects later in life and developed new approaches to sculpting with CorTen steel.