John Chamberlain was born in 1927 in Rochester, Indiana, and grew up mostly in Chicago. Following his service in WW2, Chamberlain attended the Art Institute of Chicago before finishing his education at Black Mountain College in 1956. The following year, after moving to New York, Chamberlain became an almost instant sensation after unveiling the first of many sculptures involving the assemblage of old scrap metal from cars. Through these sculptures, he is largely credited with translating the Abstract Expressionist style of painting into three dimensions, which has previously been contained to two dimensional canvases. Donald Judd stated in 1962 that John Chamberlain was the greatest sculpture alive, under 40.