International Sculpture Center

   


April 2013
Vol. 32 No 3

A publication of the
International Sculpture Center
New York - Donald Moffett:
Marianne Boesky Gallery
by Michaël Amy
Donald Moffett continually finds new ways to make paintings. A decade ago, he projected moving figurative images onto monochromatic supports of oil and enamel on linen. Five years ago, he zipped open the picture and exposed its painted insides to view—imagine a shallow box with its four panels splayed open at the top and placed parallel to the wall, though in the painting, the zippers run diagonally from the center to the four corners of the rectangular canvas, which, when flapped open, creates a diamond shape framing a rectangular opening (the zippers are not opened all the way) and overlapping a larger rectangle (the periphery of the stretched linen canvas, left raw on the outside). Moffett thereby took abstract painting into the third dimension. In a more recent series, from 2009, he perforated his wooden support with medium-sized holes and covered the front and sides of the panel with extruded paint—a trick that he developed after going to cake-decorating school—collected in greater density around the orifices. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Donald Moffett, Lot 080711 (the radiant future), 2011. Oil on linen with wood panel support, concrete mixer, driftwood, wire, and hardware, 104 x 91 x 45 in.
Lincoln, Massachusetts - Steve Lambert: deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
by Marty Carlock
It looks like a chunk of retro advertising that fell off a building in Times Square: white light bulbs spelling out, in gigantic letters, CAPITALISM. Below, script adds, “Works for me!” On either side comes the kicker: “True” or “False.” Viewers are asked to push a button and vote. Electronic scorecards on each side tally a running vote total. The tally at my visit: 1,325 true, 1,255 false. The sign is not a plug for Wall Street. It is Steve Lambert’s conceptual goad, intended to provoke dialogue about the American economic system. At deCordova, the work was accompanied by a video documenting interviews with voters; contrary to what might be expected, no one said definitively that capitalism had not worked for them—though several suggested that it should be modified, and many decried the disparities in income and lifestyle that divide U.S. society. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Steve Lambert, Capitalism Works For Me! True/False, 2011. Aluminum and electronics by Alexander Reben, 9 x 20 x 7 ft.
Newark, New Jersey - Gianluca Bianchino: Index
by Jonathan Goodman
Gianluca Bianchino is an Italian-born sculptor who studied in New Jersey and stayed, keeping his stu-? dio in the Garden State. He is part of a burgeoning, energetic group of artists living and showing in Newark and Jersey City, places not far from New York but offering far cheaper rents. Curated by Jeanne Brasile, Bianchino’s recent project at Index was site specific; he worked with colleagues for a week to set up the lights, paper, tripods, wires, and lenses that characterized the installation. The work had a rough-and-ready integrity, with the materials throwing shadows against the walls and on the floor. Indeed, part of the installation’s remarkable complexity came from such optical aspects—first, from the lenses, or “portals” as Bianchino calls them, which offered glimpses into a dotted world that could be either macroscopic or microscopic (or both); and second, from the interplay between actual materials and their shadows cast by the overhead lights and lamps. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Gianluca Bianchino, Temporary Bodies, 2012. Acrylic paint, wood, cardboard, paper, tripods, lights, electric wire, telescope, and projection lenses, installation view.
New York - Richard Artschwager:
Leo Castelli Gallery
by DeWitt Cheng
Richard Artschwager’s work is not exactly Pop in the sense of Olden?burg’s sculpture or, for that matter, works by George Segal, Marjorie Strider, or Robert Indiana. The question has arisen more than once as to whether Artschwager belongs in the category of Pop at all. But where else? He appears to have liberated himself from all the trappings of maintaining a surface mode of aesthetics. Though he carries certain mannerisms with him, he is not burdened by the necessity to conform to any of them. For this reason, Artschwager might appear as a mystery unto himself. Considering his past exhibitions at Castelli, then Mary Boone, and eventually David Noland and Larry Gagosian (focusing only on New York galleries), the artist’s changes appear less remarkable than do his consistencies. His prowess and inventiveness draw less on shifting the premises of his art than on conjuring variations or on finding new semiotic conjugations. Artschwager deals with the reality of the everyday world, but not quite in the Pop Art sense. Instead, he distances himself from the politics of labels and the manifestations of style. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Richard Artschwager, Counter I, 1962. Acrylic, wood veneer, and metal wheels, 48 x 15.5 x 25 in
New York - Elias Crespin: Cecilia de Torres, Ltd.
by Joyce Beckenstein
Elias Crespin is a 21st-century wizard in a virtual Oz. In “Parallels,” the New York debut of his kinetic sculpture, he dazzled viewers with works consisting of simple lines and shapes. At first glance, they appeared to be suspended in space, their movements the whim of a capricious breeze. But nature was nowhere present. Crespin’s gravity-defying lines, pentagrams, and circles, fabricated from copper, brass, and stainless steel, hang from nearly invisible nylon threads and take their cues from the hidden computerized motors to which they are attached. A software designer and consultant with a degree in computer science from Venezuela’s Central University, Crespin is a self-taught artist whose only formal brush with fine art came from his two famous grandparents: graphic artist Gerd Leufert (1914–98) and kinetic artist Gertrude Goldschmidt (1912–94), better known as Gego. As a kid, Crespin spent many hours helping his grandmother in her studio. Later, he was influenced by Jesús Rafael Soto. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Elias Crespin, Circuconcéntricos Latón, 2012. Brass, nylon, and motors, 100 x 100 cm.
New York - Ernesto Neto: Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
by Jonathan Goodman
Ernesto Neto’s woven, hanging sculp?tures show us how a playful understanding of Modernist aesthetics can advance the art of sculpture. His works in this show, crocheted from polypropylene and polyester cord, hung from the ceiling, in some cases filled with plastic balls, which acted as a balance and also as a floor for visitors to rather shakily walk across. The shapes themselves, often comically organic, seem to have been inspired by folk art, or the work of aliens, and so we struggle to comprehend the art of a culture whose artifacts we have not yet contextualized. Neto has made a career out of this kind of hanging, which effectively broaches the gap between sculpture and installation. He is concerned with environments that the viewer can touch, so the experience of his work is interactive, even incorporating a bit of performance. Much of today’s best art falls in between genres, for example, the sculptural paintings of Elizabeth Murphy. In Neto’s work, we find a similar aesthetic: art that draws its interest from more than one medium, skillfully incorporating different elements to produce something larger than the sum of its descriptions. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Ernesto Neto, The Island Bird, 2012. Polypropylene and polyester rope and plastic balls, approx. 14 x 31.5 x 21.5 ft.
New York - Akio Takamori and Tip Toland:
Barry Friedman Ltd.
by Jonathan Goodman
Akio Takamori and Tip Toland are both figurative clay artists, but any similarity between them ends there. Takamori is a lyrically inclined, Japanese-born sculptor who now teaches at the University of Washington, while Toland is a hyperrealist from Seattle who specializes in portraying the elderly. Both eschew abstraction, and one finds in their portraits the comfort that comes from recognizing realism as a dominant trope in art history. In a project finished in 2011, Takamori reinvents the English alphabet, posing Asian figures (alone or in groups) to form individual letters, from A to Z. His charming, smallish people lean against each other and strike yoga-like positions in order to embody alphabetic forms. Considerable intimacy exists in many of the works—for example, the letter A consists of two men leaning toward each other, holding hands, and touching heads. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Akio Takamori, installation view of “People / Alphabet,” 2012.
Philadelphia - Annica Cuppetelli and Cristobal Mendoza: Grizzly Grizzly
by Becky Huff Hunter
As part of the city-wide festival Fiber Philadelphia 2012, two Detroit-based artists collaborated on an installation synthesizing reactive video projection and physical structure. Annica Cuppetelli, a fiber artist concerned with issues of space, interaction, and materiality, worked with media artist and programmer Cristobal Mendoza, whose interests lie in the intersection of technology and the personal. Their piece, Threaded Interface, activated one wall of Grizzly Grizzly’s tiny gallery; like a well-placed mirror, it effectively doubled the size of this post-industrial, windowless studio. Thick, white elastic cords were strung vertically taut and parallel along one of the long side walls, about an inch apart and half an inch from the wall. Onto this warp-like structure, a glowing, digital video of wider, white strings was projected, each stripe of light centrally cut through with a slim, black shadow cast by the physical thread. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Annica Cuppetelli and Cristobal Mendoza, Threaded Interface, 2012. Custom software, computer, video projectors, video cameras, elastic, and MDF, 19 x 8 ft.
Dallas - Erick Swenson: Nasher Sculpture Center
by Charissa Terranova
The work of Erick Swenson has a visceral appeal. In Scuttle, for instance, a meticulously detailed conch holds the body of a sea snail halted in the midst of its wriggling. At once tongue-like and pudendal, the elongated end of the snail’s body emerges erect, while its broader half wraps around the hard outer shell, squeezing it in a stranglehold. It is an object at the crossroads of life and death, its fleshy presence as entrails turned inside out, succumbing to its own suicidal strangulation. Since “scuttle” is a nautical term that refers to the defensive act of sinking one’s own ship, the snail’s deadly involution of the vulnerable against the protective—the fleshy internal body wrapping itself around the protective carapace—becomes a metaphor for the intense dynamic competition between what Freud called thanatos and eros, the death drive and the libido. Sex, life, and preservation can also be matters of self-destruction. It is no surprise that, with this profound philosophical tension coursing through Swenson’s work, the three pieces in this small show made for a lot of heavy rumination and, more precisely, careful looking. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Erick Swenson, Ne Plus Ultra (detail), 2010. Acrylic on urethane resin, 17 x 72 x 54 in.
Caguas, Puerto Rico - Raquel Torres-Arzola: AREA
by Carla Acevedo-Yates
There are times when an artist unexpectedly breaks away from a trend. Puerto Rico, an island with many creative minds but few institutional frameworks to support them, has recently been the site for works that either confront its ambiguous political situation rather directly and simplistically or limit themselves to representations of tropical clichés. This exhibition stood out against these dominant characteristics. An MFA candidate at the San Francisco Art Institute, Raquel Torres-Arzola, who has been working under the tutelage of her advisor Victor Vázquez, put together a thought-provoking and intelligent show that not only addressed domestic, as well as dogmatic, power structures, but also posited sculpture as a formal and conceptual language of materials through which the intangible is materialized. AREA, a project space and residency program founded seven years ago by collector José Hernández Castrodad, has been a consistent site for the production and promotion of engaging works by young and emerging artists. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Raquel Torres-Arzola, The Thousand and One Nights, 2012. Mixed media, installation view.
Stockholm - Uglycute: Marabouparken
by Elna Svenle
It may seem unorthodox and even premature to stage a retrospective of a career that has only lasted for 13 years, but then Uglycute, the Swedish art and design collective, is neither conventional nor concerned with timeliness. Furthermore, the four members of Uglycute—Markus Degerman, Andreas Nobel, Jonas Nobel, and Fredrik Stenberg—have created such a vast number of furniture pieces, exhibition designs, and environments that their retrospective was both rich and rewarding. Uglycute gained international recognition in 2003 when participating in Hans Ulrich Obrist’s “Utopia Station” at the Venice Biennale. Since then, the group has worked on projects in various parts of the world, persistently exploring the controversial relations among art, theory, architecture, and design. The guiding principles behind its work are affordability, anti-aesthetics, and DIY. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Uglycute, Folding Table, 2008; Chair for Masonit AB, 2005; and Table lamp, 1999.
Basel - “Art Unlimited”: Art Basel
by Laura Tansini
Franz West’s attention-grabbing Gekröse introduced the “Art Unlim?ited” section of Art Basel with a colorful flourish. The monumental, anthropomorphic form in eye-popping, pink-lacquered aluminum resembled a Jurassic cephalopod, or an oversize human intestine. The spectacle darkened with Michael Sailstorfer’s invasive installation If I should Die in a Car Crash, it Was Meant to be a Sculpture (2011). The fake fiberglass 550 Porsche Spider is gutted, going nowhere in a visceral embodiment of Roland Barthes’s sentiments in “Death of the Author.” Walead Beshty’s Copper Surrogate offered quieter pleasures in the form of simple material beauty. Like much of his work, it subverts artistic categories, filling the gap between object and creative process. The nine copper sheets rely on the metal’s reactive sensitivity to touch, which triggers oxidation followed by changes in color and surface accretions. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Franz West, Gekröse, 1992. Lacquered aluminum, work shown at “Art Unlimited.”
Basel - Jeff Koons: Beyeler Foundation
by Laura Tansini
Visitors strolling through Jeff Koons’s recent exhibition at the Beyeler Foundation looked happy and comfortable. It didn’t matter our age or how serious, critically involved, or skeptical we were when we entered; once inside, we looked at Koons’s works without prejudice, contagious smiles lighting up our faces, our eyes shining with childish joy. When we left, we felt good, convinced that ours is a beautiful world. As Koons intended, we felt “perfect.” Though extensive, this show was not a retrospective. Instead, it featured 50 works from three series—“The New” (1980–87), “Banality” (1988), and “Celebration” (1994– ongoing)—that represent crucial steps in Koons’s development: a restricted but intelligent choice. Koons’s works (both sculptures and paintings) belong to popular culture, but beyond the seductive images, we perceive a deep and philosophical mindset that belongs to high culture. In “The New,” Koons presents factory-new Hoover vacuum cleaners and carpet cleaners, encased in Plexiglas and placed over fluorescent tubes. The impression is of cleanliness and value, supporting themes of integrity, innocence, and purity. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Jeff Koons, Buster Keaton, 1988. Polychromed wood, 65.75 x 50 x 26.5 in.
Jerusalem - Joseph Beuys and Tadeusz Kantor: The Israel Museum
by Angela Levine
There is strong justification for exhibiting works by Joseph Beuys and Tadeusz Kantor in tandem, since their work shares many features. Both of these 20th-century greats extended the borders of art across a range of media, from actions, happenings, and theater performances to lectures, discussions, and more. And, despite the fact that their backgrounds were so different—one living in Germany, the other in Poland—both drew on myth, personal biography, and the fallibility of memory to produce works alluding to the traumatic European upheavals that took place during their lifetime. The 60 works on view, loaned from major public collections, included paintings, drawings, objects, and installations, as well as films documenting performances and theater pieces. In the case of Beuys, who famously remarked that “to be a teacher is my greatest work of art,” all of this material was very familiar, but it served as a foil to Kantor’s explorations in the field of theatrical space and representation. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Tadeusz Kantor, Children at their Desks, 1975. Mixed-media school benches and dummies, 144 x 132 x 260 cm.
Dispatch - Havana, Cuba: 11th Havana Biennial
by Elaine A. King
The Havana Biennial originated in 1984 as a tribute to the 25th anniversary of the Cuban revolution. Though it initially showcased only artists from the Caribbean, today it includes works by artists from the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, South America, and Africa. The 11th installment, which spread across the greater metropolitan Havana area, was a daunting enterprise for a first-time visitor. Armed with maps and traveling by foot, bus, and taxi, one embarked on a challenging treasure hunt, trying to locate the individual components and add them together to make sense of this enormous show. The theme, “Artist Practices and Social Imaginaries,” brought together approximately 180 artists and nine collectives from 45 countries to exhibit work in a variety of settings. The primary exhibition venues included the Gran Teatro de La Habana, which featured mostly international artists; the Fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña, which displayed mostly Cuban art; and the Pabellón Cuba, which featured younger artists’ work. Museums, galleries, studios, parks, art schools, and dilapidated buildings across the city also served as exhibition sites, and the sprawling oceanfront promenade known as the Malecón became an open-air community gallery. ...see the entire review in the print version of April's Sculpture magazine.

Marcel Pinas, Sanfika, 2009. Spoons, 250 x 1000 cm. from the 11th Havana Biennial.

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