Lee Bontecou trained at the Art Students League in New York from 1952 to 1955. In 1954 she attended the Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture in Maine and learned to weld. During her stay in Italy from 1957 to 1958 on a Fulbright scholarship she used soot in her drawings for the first time. Upon her return to New York in 1958 she started to experiment with small-scale wall-mounted sculptural assemblages, soon developing her signature style and technique. These constructions, made by fastening fabric to steel fragments that are arranged in swirling forms with dark central voids, evoke technological, mechanical, geological and biological motifs. Bontecou had her first solo show in 1960 at Castelli Gallery in New York. The following year she was included in The Art of Assemblage at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Her early success led to her withdrawal from the public art sphere in the 1970s. She taught at Brooklyn College from 1971 to 1991 and worked on a new series of art works—large mobile-like sculptures hanging from the ceiling. Together with earlier vacuum-formed plastic sculptures of plants and marine organisms, these “galaxies” made of wire and ceramics mark a completely new approach within her oeuvre.