Along with his contemporary Alexander Calder, George Rickey (1907–2002) is the artist most associated with motion in sculpture. Only of late has he not been much in the public eye. His nearly forty-foot-tall Three Red Lines (1966)—so many upright, painted needles swaying gently from side to side—that had stood like a beacon in front of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden since its opening in 1974 has not been seen there since 2003. And while Rickey’s work has been shown in galleries, the last retrospective was in 2007, and it bypassed the major institutions on both coasts—institutions, it should be said, that had at one time been avid supporters of his work.

So it is cause for celebration that a flurry of events now brings Rickey and his art once again front and center. In September the art historian and biographer Belinda...


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