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About the Artist: For much of William King's career, his sculpture has been identified with Pop Art. The satirical nature and humorous overtones of his figures seemed particularly suited to Pop's affinity for the mundane aspects of consumer culture. King, however, thinks of his figures as both satirical and "vulnerable, fragile." Power Tennis: En Garde and Forehand, 1977, depicts two tennis players in defensive modes, preparing to return an imminent volley. The monumental aluminum figures are described only by soft contours. The elongation and absence of detail seems better suited to describe the figures' shadows or silhouettes. As such, the players lack material substance, giving credence to King's notion that they are fragile and vulnerable.
King intended to become an architect rather than a sculptor. After brief study at the University of Florida at Gainesville between 1942-44, he entered Cooper Union where he studied with John Hovannes (1900-73) and Milton Hebald. King decided to switch majors during his first year in 1945 and finished his remaining two years in sculpture. In 1949, he continued his study with Hebald at the Brooklyn Museum School of Art. King returned to the Brooklyn Museum School in 1953 as an instructor and taught there until 1959. He then taught briefly at the University of California at Berkeley from 1965-66 and the Art Students League from 1968-69. He began creating his large aluminum figures during his tenure at the League.