Time to rock out to some heavy metal — sculpture style. Let’s take a tour of three metal artworks that are both beautiful and hardcore. First up? This tricky number:

Richard Deacon, (Bangor, Wales, 1949 — ), Cover, 1990, Medium density fiberboard, wood and copper, 72 in. x 132 in. x 48 in. (182.88 cm x 335.28 cm x 121.92 cm), Museum Acquisition Fund and The Mary S. and Louis S. Myers Endowment Fund for Painting and Sculpture

The artist calls this copper and wood piece Cover, but what exactly is it covering? Use your imagination to fill in the blanks, or in this case, to peek under the metal facade. Can you imagine what is underneath? Do a little doodle of what might be lurking inside.

Stop two, this biting black and white beauty

Lee Bontecou, (Providence, Rhode Island, 1931 — ), Untitled, 1966, Painted iron, fiberglass and fabric, 41 in. x 29 in. x 8 in. (104.14 cm x 73.66 cm x 20.32 cm), Gift of Leo Castelli, Castelli Galleries

Yikes, are those teeth?! If you see them, you might be experiencing pareidolia, the phenomenon of seeing faces in everyday objects. Here, the artist uses metal bits and pieces (along with fiberglass and fabric) to create this ominous artwork. Can you create faces out of the doorknobs, buttons, zippers, and windows that surround you? Go on a photo scavenger hunt to track them down in the wild.

Last stop — this grand, glimmering piece

El Anatsui, (Anyako, Ghana, 1944 — ), Dzesi II, 2006, Aluminum liquor bottle caps and copper wire, 117 in. x 195 in. x 8 in. (297.18 cm x 495.3 cm x 20.32 cm), Purchased, by exchange, with funds from Mr. and Mrs. Charles S. Reed II

What exactly are you looking at here? A textile of some sort, like a quilt or flag? Guess again. This sculpture is composed of folded, crumpled, and crushed metal liquor bottle caps. The artist and his assistants have meticulously created elaborate folds and then wired the pieces together into this shimmering creation. Can you create your own large-scale artwork using tiny materials from around your home or office?

Congrats, you’ve made it through a heavy metal tour and you totally shredded it. Look for more metallic masterpieces in the museum’s collection at

Virtual Tours are made possible with support from the Sandra L. and Dennis B. Haslinger Family Foundation, The Sisler McFawn Foundation, The Welty Family Foundation, Dana Pulk Dickinson, and the Lloyd L. & Louise K. Smith Memorial Foundation.

Enriching lives through modern and contemporary art