Lee Bontecou is an American artist who was born 15 January 1931 in Providence, Rhode Island. She attended the Art Students League of New York from 1952 to 1955, where she studied with the sculptor William Zorach. She received a Fulbright scholarship to study in Rome in 1957-1958 and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award in 1959. From the 1970s until 1991 she taught at Brooklyn College.
She is best known for the sculptures she created in 1959 and the 1960s, which challenged artistic conventions of both materials and presentation by hanging on the wall like a painting. They consist of welded steel frames covered with recycled canvas (such as conveyor belts or mail sacks) and other found objects. Her best constructions are at once mechanistic and organic, abstract but evocative of the brutality of war. Art critic Arthur Danto describes them as “fierce”, reminiscent of 17th-century scientist Robert Hooke’s Micrographia, lying “at the intersection of magnified insects, battle masks, and armored chariots…”. She exhibited at Leo Castelli’s art gallery in the 1960s, and one of the largest examples of her work is located in the lobby of the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City.