International Sculpture Center

   


March 2014
Vol. 33 No. 2

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.

Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia: Sarah Sze
Through April 6, 2014
Sze’s complex spatial matrices assemble water bottles, drawing pins, paper, salt, string, lamps, matchsticks, and wire into spectacularly intricate universes that mold themselves to their host spaces, spreading across, over, and through architectural surfaces. Within the delicate balance of her compositions, the slightest change seems capable of precipitating a descent into chaos. Her new collaboration with FWM explores the construction and measurement of space, mass, time, and volume, unfolding in three different experiments on three floors of the museum. Each installation turns scale, gravity, and information on its head, as rocks, newspapers, and furniture come together in carefully calibrated relationships that exchange familiar identities and contexts for wholly unexpected new mutations.
Web site www.fabricworkshopandmuseum.org


Installation view of “Sarah Sze at The Fabric Workshop and Museum.”.
Faurschou Foundation, Beijing: Gabriel Orozco
Through March 23, 2014
Orozco creates sculptures, installations, photographs, and paintings from everyday objects and situations, but twists conventional notions of reality by inserting the ordinary into unexpected contexts. From one project to the next, he deliberately blurs the boundaries between art object and prosaic environment, situating his contributions in a hybrid place ruled by imagination and political commitment. Chicotes, the large-scale installation that fills the Faurschou, creates a zone of ambiguity, part accident scene and part archaeological site. Fragments of exploded car tires (chicotes is slang in Mexico for these roadside rubber shards), accentuated with melted aluminum, coalesce in a disturbing tableau that assaults the visual and olfactory senses. Uniting the industrial and the organic (the weathered shreds resemble bark or seaweed), the banal and the significant, this overpowering work underscores economic differences and reifies the potential dangers of everyday life.
Web site www.faurschou.com

Gabriel Orozco, Chicotes.

The Jewish Museum, New York: Claire Fontaine
Through April 20, 2014
Fontaine describes “herself” as a collective, ready-made artist (the name comes from a popular French brand of notebooks). The group’s neo-conceptual installations, machinery-sculptures, videos, and texts, which often look like other people’s work, attempt to unmask the impotence that defines much contemporary art. But if the artist defines herself as the equivalent of a urinal or Brillo box—as displaced, deprived of use value, and exchangeable as the products she makes—there is always the possibility of the “human strike,” which makes Claire Fontaine a self-defined “existential terrorist” in search of subjective emancipation. This installation, which inaugurates the Jewish Museum’s new contemporary art series, consists of nine neon signs in different languages, each reading “Isle of Tears.” Installed in the lobby, the linguistic cacophony beckons visitors into a liminal no-man’s land, home to hope and despair in equal measure—just like its namesake, Ellis Island.
Web site www.thejewishmuseum.org

Claire Fontaine, Tears.
Kunsthalle Münster, Münster: The Love of Things
Through March 30, 2014
Since the industrial revolution and the rise of mass production/mass consumption, the world has been inundated by a never-ending deluge of stuff. According to “The Love of Things” curators, the average citizen in the West today owns about 10,000 things. Excessive possession has typically drawn censure, but recent academic research has advanced a more favorable assessment based on two observations: apparently things can affect our lives in positive ways, and our engagement with them can offer insight into our social relationships. The 12 artists featured here—including Alexandra Bircken, Karla Black, Sylvie Fleury, Surasi Kusolwong, Erwin Wurm, and Haegue Yang—take a personal stance on the issue, considering everyday objects from striking perspectives while altering them in ways that hover between familiarity and alienation. Whether reserved, playful, ironic, or malicious, each work presents an unconventional and previously unexplored approach to things, their accumulation, and our fraught relationship with them.
Web site www.kunsthalle.muenster.de


Erwin Wurm, Keep a Cool Head
Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz, Austria: Pascale Marthine Tayou
Through April 27, 2014
Cameroon-born and Ghent-based Tayou re-creates the insights and experiences of his nomadic existence in sculptures and large-scale installations that mix cultural differences and common concerns. Incorporating all kinds of recycled materials and found artifacts, his complex and exuberant juxtapositions of urban refuse from around the globe coalesce in disorienting chaos, an overload of visual white noise akin to the frenetic rush of stimuli that bombards us every day. The new neon works, installations, and performances in this show—many created in collaboration with local residents of all ages and backgrounds—continue his pursuit of an art that transcends the heroic idea of the artist, that brings people together while turning a critical eye on destructive behaviors that threaten societies and environments.
Web site www.kunsthaus-bregenz.at


Pascale Marthine Tayou, Le Verso Versa du Vice Recto..
Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf: Susan Philipsz
Through April 6, 2014
Originally a sculptor in the traditional sense and the first sound artist to win the Turner Prize, Philipsz has received worldwide attention for installations that use the voice to trace invisible connections between the audible and the spatial. Surround Me (2010) haunted various locations around London with delicately rendered madrigals; and at the Turner Prize show three years ago, her unaccompanied rendition of a Scottish lament took off into three conjoining and dividing waves of space-defining dissonance and harmony. The Missing String, her new work for the Kunstsammlung, resuscitates a group of war-damaged musical instruments—emblems of the often tragic fate suffered by artists under National Socialism. Battered, riddled with bullet holes, and twisted out of shape, these survivors are still able to make music; their individual recorded voices (performing Richard Strauss’s 1945 Metamorphosen for 23 Solo Strings) come together in a moving story of harmony, tension, and physical disorientation.
Web site www.kunstsammlung.de


Susan Philipsz, The Missing String.
Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh: Janine Antoni
Through March 30, 2014
For more than two decades, Antoni has pushed the limits of material possibilities. Whether rendered in chocolate, lard, lipstick, or hemp, her sculptures embody the accumulated traces left behind by her performative processes—gnawing, hair slinging, and eyelash batting. These unorthodox methods allow her to emphasize the meaning inherent in making, a proposition not unrelated to her intense exploration of physicality. Regardless of material or style, Antoni’s work always asks what it means to have, and be, a body, particularly a female body. The new works featured in “Within,” including a collaboration with Stephen Petronio, treat built space as a corollary of the body, a vessel to be occupied and altered. Severed trees pierce floors and ceilings, rooms bear crowns, and moldings morph into bones—all supporting a collection of anatomical fragments, as impossible as they are skin-crawlingly disturbing.
Web site www.mattress.org


Janine Antoni, Graft..
Middelheim Museum, Antwerp: Folkert de Jong
Through April 6, 2014
de Jong takes a bleak view of human life and its prospects. Seemingly on the verge of decomposition, his grotesquely expressive figures resemble the walking dead, oozing in places and liquefying in others—their brittle flesh rendered in Styrofoam and polyurethane washed with acidic color. These unconventional materials, like the human body itself, are not meant to be eternal; nor are they environmentally friendly. Their toxicity is precisely the point, underscoring the dark themes of violence, greed, and power enacted in his tableaux, which combine ironic references to the old masters with contemporary concerns. “The Pleasing Delusion,” an indoor and outdoor installation around Middelheim’s exhibition pavilion, features 11 new bronze works that challenge the material’s traditional connotations, corrupting timelessness with decay and confusing freedom with compulsion.
Web site www.middelheimmuseum.be


Folkert de Jong, Queen Mary
Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Australia: Hubert Duprat
Through April 21, 2014

As much a scientist as an artist, Duprat strains definitions of authorship, creativity, and agency, posing a serious challenge to the much-cherished distinction between works of art and works of nature. Over the course of a decades-long collaboration with the caddis fly—a freshwater species whose larvae make silk casings incorporating any and all available materials, from grains of sand to bits of fish bone—he has facilitated the creation of casings that double as art objects. Within the studio, the larvae can choose from an array of materials, including gold and gems. With this expanded palette, they craft stunning armor for themselves, sometimes collaborating and even building on their predecessors’ work. How do we define their now-precious productions? Are they the work of the insects or the man? This show offers a thorough introduction to Duprat’s intriguing experiments, featuring natural magnets, crystals sculpted by microscopic atomic arrangement and Neolithic techniques, and other productive col­lisions between the organic and the industrial, as well as a selection of caddis fly-produced bling to rival Hirst’s jewel-encrusted skull.
Web site http://mona.net.au

Hubert Duprat, Installation view of “Art: Concept.”

New Museum, New York: Pawel Althamer
Through April 20, 2014
A traditional sculptor of highly realistic figures as well as a radical interventionist, Althamer frequently orchestrates situations and events that place real people—including the homeless, prison inmates, illegal workers, street musicians, and children—in alternative or parallel realities where they have the power of creative input and execution. “The Neighbors,” his first U.S. museum show, emphasizes connections rather than differences between the two sides of his artistic practice. More than simple portraits, the figural works—representations of himself, his family, and members of various communities—highlight the same complex networks explored in his social experiments. In addition to a number of iconic sculptures (including the haunting Venetians from the 55th Venice Biennale), the exhibition features a new iteration of the participatory Draftsmen’s Congress in which everyone is invited to draw, a sculpture workshop with the artist, and a subtle adjustment in the relationship between the street life outside the museum and the galleries inside.
Web site www.newmuseum.org


Pawel Althamer, Draftsmen's Congress.
Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia: Cai Guo-Qiang
Through May 11, 2014
From gunpowder drawings and explosion events to large-scale “stop-motion” installations that seem to freeze an instant of unfolding time and space, Cai has created a distinctively dramatic visual and conceptual language to capture the dilemmas and contradictions of our unsettled world. “Falling Back to Earth,” his first solo show in Australia, marks a renewed interest in terrestrial themes after his recent ventures into the cosmos, space travel, and supernatural fantasy. The common denominator remains his unyielding desire to understand transformation. Here, that interest focuses on the transformative forces flowing through human existence—science and faith, beauty and violence, past and future, life and death. Two dramatic new installations make the human relationship to nature palpable—Heritage (99 life-size replicas of animals from around the world gathering at an idealized, paradisical watering hole) and Eucalyptus (an enormous fallen gum tree). As in all of Cai’s work, the impact here is immediate, the meaning lingering.
Web site www.qagoma.qld.gov.au

Cai Guo-Qiang, Head On.
Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, New York: Emerging Artist Fellowship Exhibition 2013
Through March 31, 2014
EAF artists are selected through an open call for proposals and awarded a grant and residency at Socrates’ outdoor studio; for many, this is their first opportunity to work outside on a large scale. This year’s show features a broad range of materials, methods, and subject matter, with each artist taking a distinctive approach to sculpture (and performance) in the public sphere: local concerns confront global issues, the personal meets the universal, and the history, ecology, and panorama of the park find a broader context against international politics, militarization, and culture. Works by Thordis Adalsteinsdottir, Diann Bauer, Michael DeLucia, Tamara Johnson, Anthony Heinz May, David McQueen, Kenneth Pietrobono, Aida Šehovic, Sandy Smith, Edouard Steinhauer, Chris Boyd Taylor, Justin Randolph Thompson, Hong-An Truong, Gustabo Velazquez, and Myung Gyun You are installed against the park’s spectacular waterfront view of the Manhattan skyline.
Web site www.socratessculpturepark.org

Myung Gyun You, The Lotus Land

Walker Art Center, Minneapolis: Jim Hodges
Through May 11, 2014
Hodges is part of a generation of sculptors, including Felix González-Torres, Robert Gober, Roni Horn, Kiki Smith, and Katharina Fritsch, who responded to the censorship and political conservatism of American society in the late ’80s with a new visual language of generosity, metaphor, and restraint. Hodges’s work typically begins with humble, even overlooked materials—silk scarves and flowers, mirrors, light bulbs, glass, clothing, metal chains, decals, and sheet music—that he transforms through simple gestures such as drawing, sewing, folding/ unfolding, cutting, assembling, and unraveling. These acts of poetic reconsideration remain inscribed in the finished works, as form becomes a meditation on life, love, and loss. “Give More Than You Take,” his first comprehensive survey, gathers sculptures, drawings, photographs, collages, and installations (including many rarely seen works and an epic new tapestry) into thematic constellations that elicit a range of emotional and sensorial experiences, from the depths of darkness to the brilliance of reflected light.
Web site www.walkerart.org

Jim Hodges, Ghost.

William Morris Gallery, London: Jeremy Deller
Through March 30, 2014
Deller may not qualify as a modern-day William Morris yet, but he has already picked up the mantle. Like Morris, he won’t separate art and politics, particularly when it comes to questions of equality and freedom from oppression; he’s fond of (some) heritage; and he defends the environment and its creatures. “English Magic,” his combative exhibition for the British Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, couldn’t have a more appropriate venue for its U.K. debut than Morris’s former home. In a time-jumping whirlwind of ambiguous patriotism, Deller has a bit of fun with national myth-making, taking on money, fantasy, history, and horror. Surrounded by a backdrop of incendiary murals—Channel Island tax havens in flames, the banks of St Helier consumed in an insurrection—visitors can sit on a bench made from a pulverized Range Rover or hold Neolithic and Paleolithic axes found in the Thames Valley. And in the best tradition of wish-fulfillment, Morris returns from the dead as a vindictive god who punishes bad taste and extravagant wealth. From the Troubles to Thatcher-era union-busting, civil riots, and the fallout from the latest entanglement in Iraq, Deller reminds us of unfinished, and what seem like interminable, travails, but he also shares his enthusiasms generously: he likes wildlife, David Bowie, and steel bands.
Web site http://wmgallery.org.uk

Jeremy Deller, tea room from English Magic.


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