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July/August 2014
Vol. 33 No. 6

A publication of the
International Sculpture Center

This selection of shows has been curated by Sculpture magazine editorial staff and includes just a few of the great shows around the world.

Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, Colorado: Ernesto Neto
Through September 2, 2014
Ernesto Neto Neto describes his experiential, sensual installations as representations of the body’s landscape from within, encouraging viewers to physically engage these strange, surreal environments by feeling, smelling, and touching, as well as looking. This show features a range of sense-provoking works, many employing his signature combination of enveloping fabric chambers and dizzying aromatics. Moving from the ground into the air, alternating protection and instability, spice-filled stalactites and gravity-defying crocheted passageways transport visitors to other-worldly aeries of adventure and wonder. Poetic worlds of delight, these chambers are also refuges, places in which thinking stops, where, as Neto says, life can be directly inhaled and the body can relax into nature.
Web site www.aspenartmuseum.org


Ernesto Neto, Olhando o ceu.
Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo: Elmgreen and Dragset
Through August 24, 2014
Elmgreen and Dragset Elmgreen and Dragset, who have collaborated since 1995, explore how design, architecture, and urban planning shape human behavior. Their installations, performances, and large-scale environments, particularly the “Powerless Structures,” challenge architectural and social norms in order to investigate the underlying desires of everyday objects and the mechanisms of ideological control behind even the simplest arrangements of walls, ceilings, entrances, and exits. This category-defying retrospective features more than 30 of their shape-shifting stagings—works that quickly abandon their moorings in reality to pass into surreal terrain. The museum’s lobby doubles as a gay nightclub (the morning after the party), while mundane service spaces closet dens of pleasure. Pushing mutability to its limits, “Biography” explores the conditions that determine “self” and “self-image” in a time of blurred differentiations, when even the most stable identity is open to constant reconstruction.
Web site http://afmuseet.no

Emgreen and Dragset, Death of a Collector.

Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach: El Anatsui
Through August 10, 2014
El Anatsui Constructed from crushed bottle caps, obituary-notice printing plates, cassava graters, and other found, everyday objects, El Anatsui’s visually stunning sculptures evoke universal hopes and dreams in the face of desperation and global inequality. Over the course of five decades, he has built a vocabulary that draws on traditional African idioms (everything from Nok terra-cotta sculptures to kente cloths), as well as Western art practices, alluding to the past and present of the continent, its social concerns and position in world politics. “Gravity and Grace” features 12 of his massive and meticulously detailed metallic tapestries—each one made with “charged” materials that bear individual histories of use and abuse—in addition to a series of drawings and a group of wooden wall reliefs.
Web site www.bassmuseum.org

El Anatsui, Gravity and Grace
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn: Ai Weiwei
Through August 10, 2014
Ai Weiwei “According to What?,” Ai’s traveling U.S. exhibition, covers the entire range of his eclectic output—photography, video, ceramic and marble works, and altered antiques—every piece aimed at a different chamber in the contradictory heart of Chinese culture. Probing relationships between past and present, authenticity and imitation, worthlessness and value, individual and crowd, freedom and oppression, these conceptually complex and visually provocative works push limits and defy censorship (though a hand-sculpted security camera guarantees good behavior). The carefully considered installation (with several new works making their debut) charts Ai’s escalating activism and inevitable collision with China’s ruling regime, effectively stymieing claims that equate him with Warhol. Though the newest works—including Straight (38 tons of rebar salvaged from the wreckage of the Sichuan earthquake, straightened, and arranged in a 12-meter-long seismic wave) and S.A.C.R.E.D. (six iron cells holding dioramas that re-enact the humiliations of his 81-day imprisonment in 2011)—make the strongest statements, both politically and visually, Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn has lost none of its power to incite: in Miami earlier this year, a visitor to the show followed the example set by the photographs and decided to “join [Ai] in an act of performance protest,” smashing one of his drip-painted historic urns.
Web site www.brooklynmuseum.org


Ai Weiwei, Straight.
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn: Swoon
Through August 24, 2014
SwoonThough Swoon may still be best known for her intricate, life-size wheatpaste prints and cut-out portraits on the sides of abandoned buildings, her version of Street Art has expanded into a full-fledged activist endeavor, tackling issues of urbanism, sustainability, and human rights. Her commitment to guerrilla tactics remains strong, however, infusing even large-scale projects—from crashing the Venice Biennale on a flotilla of rafts made from New York City garbage (Swimming Cities of Serenissima, 2009) to building affordable alternative shelters for disaster victims, creatively repurposing derelict urban spaces, and revitalizing communities (Konbit Shelter and Transformazium). In her new installation, Submerged Motherlands, a fantastical landscape centered on a monumental tree conjures a post-apocalyptic world inspired by Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, as well as Doggerland (an ancient landmass connecting Great Britain to mainland Europe, swallowed by the North Sea 8,000 years ago).
Web site www.brooklynmuseum.org


Swoon, Submerged Motherlands (detail).
DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art, Montreal: Jake and Dinos Chapman
Through August 31, 2014
Jake and Dinos Chapman
Perpetrators of shock and scandal since 1990, the Chapmans continue to mine the depths of depravity. From sexually reconfigured mannequins to tribal sculptures invested in the cult of the Golden Arches, their works unmask the savage face of contemporary culture. “Come and See,” their first major show in North America, features a selection of new and recent works spread across two locations. Alternately naïve, sarcastic, funny, and horrifying, works such as Pig Child, Fucking Dinosaurs, and The Sum of All Evil force us to examine the debased condition of our political, social, and moral present. From extinction and environmental depredation to exploitation in the name of consumption and human perversions of every description, the result is deeply complex, intelligent, and intense.
Web site www.dhc-art.org

Jake and Dinos Chapman, When the world ends, there'll be no more air. That's why it's important the pollute the air now...after the end of this world when humans are no more, the machines for human paradise will run on their own. Just as McDonald's runs now. (Free Willy)..
Faurschou Foundation, Beijing: Danh Vo
Through August 24, 2014
Danh VoFor Vo, history—with its complex political, religious, and cultural dynamics—is reflected in individual life stories, including his own. (His family fled Vietnam’s postwar chaos in 1979.) His subtly humorous sculptures combine found objects that point back to the past while moving forward into entirely new, unexpected meanings, connections, and contexts. This show is devoted to We The People, his 1:1 replica of Lady Liberty that undercuts monumentality and security with fragility and precariousness, dissecting the symbol of hope into 250 broken fragments of thin copper skin. These “generic abstractions,” as Vo calls the pieces, reduce the icon to a ruin, replacing monolithic principle with individual parts. In Vo’s world, actualization and anonymity, liberation and oppression, myth and reality transcend opposition to become inseparable parts of a more nuanced whole.
Web site www.faurschou.com


Dan Vo, We the People (detail).
Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids: David Nash
Through August 17, 2014
David Nash
Nash is renowned for his work in wood both living and dead—growing, training, and pruning trees, carving and charring their uprooted or fallen remains. His sculptures combine the remote, rugged terrain of his home in North Wales with an understanding of the subtle nuances that distinguish different woods, using the elements of air, water, and particularly fire to graft geometric order onto fractal wildness. This indoor and outdoor exhibition places works throughout the galleries and across the gardens. Highlights include the massive 46-part Iron Dome (in the sculpture garden), a group of bronzes (in the arid and tropical conservatories), and a first glimpse of a new, site-specific commission involving more than 130 young larch trees planted on the open hillside of the Meijer’s Japanese Garden (opening in June 2015).
Web site www.meijergardens.org


David Nash, Three Iron Humps.
Gemeentemuseum, The Hague: Thomas Houseago
Through August 10, 2014

Thomas HouseagoHouseago takes a Janus-like approach to sculpture, looking simultaneously to the past and the future. His deconstructed figures strike classical poses, but their shifts between solid mass and hollow planarity betray a steady interchange between the traditional and the postmodern. All about process, these primitive, totemic beings exude daring urgency, tactility, and brute physicality, every crude gesture coun-­ tered by an equally sophisticated reference. At the same time, they recall Boccioni’s challenge to show space as both molding device and something to be molded. Unapologetic and relentless in their evocations, these statues for contemporary times shoulder a difficult psychological role, serving as awkward, unresolved reminders of the past. This show, which combines very early work with recent sculptures, traces the evolution of his golem-like creatures—loathsome yet sympathetic avatars that seem more real than our own image-mediated bodies.
Web site www.gemeentemuseum.nl

Thomas Houseago, Poured-Head/Portrait Study.

Guggenheim Bilbao, Bilbao: Yoko Ono
Through September 1, 2014
Yoko OnoA pioneer of conceptual art, Ono has spent her 50-year career thinking the unthinkable and doing it. This full-scale retrospective of nearly 200 works, including new installations and participatory pieces, reveals her cosmic, poetic, and political understanding of human culture as it developed from her early association with Rauschenberg, Johns, George Maciunas, and John Cage to the present. Whether working with words, images, music, performance, film, or objects, Ono takes a humanistic and boundary-defying approach to the creative process, one guided by an unfailing faith in the possibility of hope, understanding, and peace.
Web site www.guggenheim-bilbao.es


Yoko Ono, Ceiling Painting, Yes Painting.
Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia: Ruffneck Constructivists
Through August 17, 2014
Ruffneck Constructivists
A group exhibition curated by Kara Walker, “Ruffneck Constructivists” defines a manifesto of urban architecture and change through the sculptures, photographs, and video works of 11 artists. As Walker explains, “Ruffneck Constructivists are defiant shapers of environments… [they] go hard when all around them they see weakness, softness, compromise, sermonizing, poverty, and lack; they don’t change the world through conscious actions, instead they build themselves into the world one assault at a time.” Looking back to the Russian Con-­ ­struc­tivists and Marinetti’s “Futurist Manifesto” (1909) as precursors of radical change, the exhibition evokes thuggishness as viable means to remake the world in the image of modernity, replacing the egomania of the architect with the braggadocio and black-market ingenuity of the hood. Though the selected works avoid direct statements, political issues provide a “background hum” to this explora­tion of public and private space as they are conceived by architects and urban planners—and remade and reshaped by policed bodies and identities.
Web site www.icaphila.org

Rodney McMillian, Untitled, from "Ruffneck Constructivits".
Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna: Isa Genzken
Through September 9, 2014
Isa Genzken Genzken’s assemblages create suggestive fusions of Modernist aspiration and blatant materialism. Beginning with her aerodynamic, incised wooden sculptures of the 1970s through recent delicate installations, she has created a body of work symbolizing the tightrope act that we all perform, balancing between beauty and destruction, grace and brutality. With social, political, and economic conditions constantly in mind, she reveals the bewildering and contradictory sides of human knowledge and perception by questioning things that we take for granted. Her scrutiny extends to the parameters of sculpture itself, as she probes the meaning of the three-dimensional object while adding an emotional charge. “I’m Isa Genzken, The Only Female Fool” narrows the focus after her recent traveling retrospective, examining key thematic obsessions—mirrors, architecture, and space as a social sphere.
Web site www.kunsthallewien.at

Isa Genzken, Strandhauser zum Umziehen.

MAXXI / MADRE, Rome / Naples: Ettore Spalletti
Through September 14, 2014 / August 18, 2014
Ettore Spalletti Spalletti creates objects between sculpture and painting, working on shaped supports with a loose and living surface of colored pigment. The surfaces themselves appear to move and flicker, refusing to settle down, while the “canvases” seem to pull away from the walls and lift up from the floor. Even alabaster and marble shed solidity and the precision of defined edges. What is fixed pulses with movement of different kinds—more or less physical, more or less visual—and what may seem restrained and “minimal” soon becomes complicit in human experience: the abstract conjoins the figurative, the contemporary meets the classical. With more than 50 works taking over venues in Rome and Naples, “Un giorno così bianco, così bianco” offers an encyclopedic, as well as atmospheric, journey through 40 years of rigorously controlled color and spatial experimentation. MAXXI hosts a musical arrangement of specially created environments and recent works linked by silences and pauses, while MADRE offers a non-chronological survey of rarely seen works from the 1960s to the present, freezing linear time into an eternal present of “miraculous” perception in which “color assumes space.”
Web site www.fondazionemaxxi.it

Ettore Spalletti, Stanza, rosso porpora.

Musée d’Art Modern (MUDAM), Luxembourg: Heimo Zobernig
Through September 7, 2014
Heimo ZobernigOver the past 25 years, Zobernig has created a considerable body of work, including sculpture, video, painting, installation, architectural intervention, and performance. Drawing on various modern art movements, he questions their underlying principles and conditions, challenging and reinterpreting them with a lightness of touch and an economy of material. This large-scale exhibition features a number of recent works that recycle old pieces into new space-shaping sculptures. Reconfigured walls from a previous show rise as Modernist towers, while curtains and screens establish a deceptive intimacy, pitting permanence against obsolescence. In this setting, the staging of art becomes a driving force, allowing Zobernig to “circumvent conventions.” Playful, unsettling, and disarming, his various endeavors all aspire to the same goal: “With art, I would like to raise questions and as a result produce things that put themselves in question.”
Web site www.mudam.lu

Heimo Zobernig, view of exhibition.

Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris: Lucio Fontana
Through August 24, 2014
Lucio Fontana Though Fontana is best known for his slashed canvases of the 1950s and ’60s, his gestural force originated in the raw immediacy of working with clay. Beginning in the 1920s, he produced a body of baroque and proto-Funk sculptures that, while ostensibly figurative, with subject matter as varied as battle scenes and flowers, are more about registering process than representing any external subject. Contemporary critics reacted to these writhing masses of energy with the same contempt they later aimed at the Concetti Spaziale, failing to understand that the apparent violence of the modeling and discordant glazes, like the action of slashing, was all about liberating the sculptural surface from its confines and drawing it into real, as opposed to illusionistic, space. This retrospective reveals the leader of the Spatialist Movement in all his complexity, bringing together more than 200 sculptures, paintings, ceramic objects, and installations that link the beauty of chance and accident with exquisite control and material purity.
Web site www.mam.paris.fr

Lucio Fontana, Il Guerriero.

Museo National Centro de Arte Reina Sofia/Palacio de Cristal, Madrid: Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster
Through August 31, 2014
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster While the YBAs were making a spectacular splash in the early ’90s, Gonzalez-Foerster and other jeunes artistes français, including Philippe Parreno and Pierre Huyghe, were quietly producing ambitious, less object-centric work that exploited innova­tive combinations of media. Inspired by film, literature, and Modernist architecture as well as art history, Gonzalez-Foerster gained a reputation for projects like Seánce de Shadow II, using sound and light to construct immersive environments with an exquisitely subtle sense of atmosphere. Thanks to her moody Unilever commission at Turbine Hall (2009), her participatory stagings and interventions have gained a wide audience. Her new site-specific installation, Splendide Hotel, epitomizes her belief that art is more intense as experience than as image. This mise en scène—perfectly inhabiting the glass and steel pavilion of the Palacio de Cristal—transports viewers to another time and place, a shadow world where the past distorts the present, the imaginary corrupts the real, and objects transcend their meanings.
Web site www.museoreinasofia.es

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Splendide Hotel.

Museum of Modern Art, New York: Lygia Clark
Through August 24, 2014
Lygia Clark A touchstone for countless contemporary artists pushing the limits of conventional form, Clark’s work has all but been overshadowed by its reputation. Her achievements are well known and constantly cited—trained in Rio de Janeiro and Paris from the late 1940s through the mid-1950s, then rising to the forefront of Brazil’s Neo-Concretist movement with category-defying, interactive creations that brought Modernist aesthetic concerns down from the rarefied ether and directly into life. Though her influence is as pervasive as that of her compatriot Hélio Oiticica, whose participatory environments and wearables have appeared in several major exhibitions over the last few years, Clark’s actual work remains elusive, a ghostly presence rarely seen and experienced in the flesh. This retrospective—the first comprehensive showing of her seminal works in North America—finally gets at the substance behind the myth. With nearly 300 drawings, paintings, sculptures, sensory-altering interactives (masks, goggles, and hoods), and therapeutic propositions, “The Abandonment of Art” brings together all aspects of her radical production in which art trades formal limitations for full engagement.
Web site www.moma.org

Lygia Clark wearing Abyssal mask with eye-patch.

Wiels, Brussels: Rosella Biscotti
Through August 17, 2014
Rosella Biscotti Biscotti uses cross-disciplinary montage to uncover hidden individual narratives and their relation to society. Combining filmmaking, performance, and sculpture, she explores and reconstructs obscured moments and situations, as well as lives and stories subsumed by state institutions. Personal encounters and oral interrogations fuse into new stories that leave their mark on her sculptures and installations. This show features a project developed in collaboration with the inmates of a women’s prison on the island of Giudecca in Venice. Over the course of six months, participants shared and recorded their dreams, which come together in an intimate new sound installation. Elaborating on her installation for the 2013 Venice Biennale, I dreamt that you changed into a cat, gatto…ha ha ha reflects on the fluidity of history and place, transforming works and contexts into a mutable, collective voice.
Web site www.wiels.org

Rossella Biscotti, The Trial.


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