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May 2017
Vol. 36 No. 4

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.

500 Capp Street Foundation - San Francisco: Isabel Nuño de Buen
Through May 20, 2017
Constellation1.2 Nuño de Buen’s drawings and installations, which draw on German Expressionist architecture, urban planning, and cultural anthropology, emphasize a language of crystalline forms, non-functionality, fragmentation, and horizontality. She investigates sculptural practices as a graphic phenomenon and brings drawing processes into three-dimensional space. Her large-scale installations are as rich and layered as they are sprawling. Made from a variety of media and materials, including plaster, papier mâché, steel, watercolor, and paint, groupings of idiosyncratic maquettes build a personal mythology of architectural form rooted in the systematic logic of modular fragments, which can be reconfigured at will. Like real cities, these works are never finished; constantly reforming, they remain in a state of continual evolution. Her new installation in the Garage at Capp Street promises a provisional, mutable, and rationally irrational intervention, a space of potentially limitless permutations and possibilities.

Web site http://500cappstreet.org


Isabel Nuño de Buen, Constellation 1.2 PART IV.
Espai d'art contemporani de Castelló- Castelló, Spain: Raphaël Zarka
Through May 21, 2017
LesFormesduRepos A collector of sculptural forms, Zarka is interested not only in what he finds in public space, but also in where and how he found it, its history and uses. The creative appropriations of skateboarding shift what could be a purely theoretical approach into an interactive practice that combines photography, video, sculpture, and drawing to explore little-known areas of urban ecology. In the photographic series “Forms of Rest,” abandoned construction sites, including a stretch of unfinished monorail, a concrete breakwater, and a lone pylon, reveal the same formal lexicon that runs from Platonic idealism through Modernist purity to post-Minimalist reductionism— fertile ground for sculptural/ skateable possibilities. “Espai Pavimentat” pairs the “Riding Modern Art” series—photographs culled from skateboarding magazines that document quasi-illicit experiences of public sculpture while creating an alternative canon of outdoor art— with a new installation of skateable sculptures inspired by the crystallographic work of German mathematician Arthur Moritz Schönflies. With their complex angles and planes, these modular geometric configurations of Cor-ten steel invite co-optation. Their presence transforms the exhibition hall into a multi-use space, forcing skaters and viewers to interact and negotiate new frameworks for the enjoyment of art.

Web site www.eacc.es


Raphaël Zarka, Les Formes de Repos No 9 (Half-Pipe).
Gemeentemuseum- The Hague: Lee Bontecou
Through July 2, 2017
Sandbox Bontecou, who vaulted to prominence in 2003 after decades of selfimposed art world exile, is a master of line as well as three-dimensional form. Her sculptures and drawings— executed in everything from pencil and pastel to soot—attest to her preoccupation with “the natural world and its wonders and horrors.” This show, which features works from every stage of her career—many of them never shown outside her studio— moves from drawings made in Greece and Italy in the 1950s through the imposing sculptures of the 1980s and new works to form an “artist’s retrospective” that eschews chronology to trace interconnections across time and materials (from clay to vacuum- formed plastic, wire, steel, wood, muslin, and canvas). A reconstruction of a drawing-covered studio wall and a new Sandbox, filled with a menagerie of small sculptures and their organic found-object inspirations, reveal the conceptual foundation and process behind Bontecou’s unsettling visions of human folly and its effects on the natural environment. Richly evocative black holes, morphing Rorschach hybrids of man and nature, and threatening landscapes— both two- and three-dimensional— re-imagine biological, geological, technological, and celestial creation, encompassing “as much of life as possible—no barriers—no boundaries—all freedom in every sense.”

Web site www.gemeentemuseum.nl

Lee Bontecou and Joan Banach, Sandbox.

Irish Museum of Modern Art- Dublin: Jac Leirner
Through June 5, 2017
Cloud São Paulo-based Leirner creates minimal arrangements and installations from mass-produced materials, things accumulated over the course of her daily life as a consumer. She has sewn Brazilian bank notes into geometric forms and arranged them on the floor in long, snaking ribbons, applied 20 years’ worth of collected stickers to giant glass panels, and surrounded the Brazilian pavilion at the 1997 Venice Biennale with a line of business cards taken from art world professionals. Museum store shopping bags, objects pocketed from hotels and airplanes, correspondence, cigarette packs and butts, and baggage tags have also found a kind of ordered beauty in her work, though she never fully dislocates them from their original functions and associations. “Institutional Ghost” features recent and new works made from what she calls her “infinity of materials,” all demonstrating, once again, that in Leirner’s hands, even the most banal and ubiquitous products and carriers of information can take on personal significance and become extraordinary formal expressions.

Web site www.imma.ie

Jac Leirner, Cloud (from corpus delecti).
Metropolitan Museum of Art- The Cloisters- New York: Small Wonders: Gothic Boxwood Miniatures
Through May 21, 2017
SmallWondersRosary Impossibly small in scale, yet teeming with life, miniature boxwood sculptures—prayer beads, tiny altarpieces, and other devotional and functional accessories—have been a source of wonder since their appearance in the Netherlands in the early 16th century. Carving the surface wasn’t enough: many prayer beads are constructed like puzzleboxes, deliberately veiling, then revealing devotional mysteries, whose miraculous nature is reinforced (or eclipsed) by the otherworldly achievement of their creation. These tour-de-force examples of skill and patience split open into intricate narrative scenes, their high reliefs piercing curved depths with fearless perspectival bravado. Greater dramas remain hidden until paired wings (carved on both sides) swing back. All of this attention is lavished on objects that may measure no more than two inches in diameter—an almost incomprehensible commitment to craft in these days of deliberate de-skilling in art, and in life. These precious objects, however, have more to offer than technical virtuosity; many of their anonymous creators found new ways to treat their subject matter, adding fresh details and nuances to familiar stories. “Small Wonders,” the first show of its kind, features nearly 50 of these astonishing treasures, which beg to be examined with a magnifying glass. Though examples of the artists’ tools have survived, their ingenious techniques have defied comprehension for centuries. For those who want wonder explicated, conservators at the Met and the Art Gallery of Ontario have unraveled many of the carvers’ secrets.

Web site www.metmuseum.org

Rosary of Floris van Egmond and Margaretha van Glymes, Netherlandish, 1500-39.
Museu de Serralves- Porto, Portugal: Haegue Yang
Through June 4, 2017
AnOpaqueWindParkinSixFolds Working with non-traditional materials such as customized Venetian blinds and sensory devices, including lights, infrared heaters, scent emitters, and fans, Yang constructs nuanced installations that collapse the space between the concrete and the ephemeral. Her recent work explores real and metaphorical relationships between material surroundings and emotional responses, attempting to give form and meaning to experiences beyond conventional order. The same approach characterizes her Serralves commission, An Opaque Wind Park in Six Folds, which moves her interest in shifting the boundaries between inside and out, open and closed, into the outdoors. Occupying almost 70 square meters, the complex of five brick towers connected by paving stones echoes Islamic geometry and the traditional wind towers of the Arabian and Persian Gulf. But these are also living structures— each one planted with various types of vegetation to attract wildlife— that celebrate connections between beings, cultures, and ways of understanding the world. Despite a rigorous and minimal abstraction, Yang’s micro-environment does not negate narrative; instead, as she says, it allows “a narrative to be achieved without constituting its own limits.”

Web site www.serralves.pt


Haegue Yang, An Opaque Wind Park in Six Folds
National Gallery of Art - Washington,. DC: Della Robbia: Sculpting with Color
Through June 4, 2017
ResurrectionofChrist Giorgio Vasari might have told a few tall tales in his Lives, altered some facts to the advantage of his Medici patrons and himself, but he never fudged on the business of art. In fact, he identifies a very practical, very Florentine consideration as the catalyst behind one of the most important changes of medium in the history of Renaissance art. In the mid- 15th century, Luca Della Robbia, with major commissions in bronze and marble already under his belt, decided that he had little to show for his labors and started searching for a more profitable method of working. He settled on clay—long in use for models and sketches, but unsuitable (at least in the West) for permanent works. By refining local clay and marrying that body with specially formulated, proprietary glazes, he achieved a technical/formal/entrepreneurial breakthrough on a par with Josiah Wedgwood’s ceramic revolution 300 years later. With pure, opaque whites and lustrous blues, greens, and yellows, Luca’s devotional and architectural reliefs became instant sensations, giving rise to a dynastic family brand, built on one-of-a-kind commissions and cheaper mass-produced versions of popular molds. Demand and artistic ambition fed further innovations, such as firing in sections to achieve larger forms and to facilitate shipping across Europe. This show features some 40 Madonna and Child reliefs, architectural decorations, portraits, statuettes, and most incredibly, large-scale figures in the round, including Luca’s three-quarter life-size Visitation, as well as works by the rival Buglioni family, which provide a telling comparison. We might think we’re inured to all these overly sweet Madonnas and fruity floral garlands, but seen together like this (or in the context of Tuscan architecture), they corroborate the opinion of Alberti and Leonardo, who judged the Della Robbias exemplars of artistic genius.

Web site www.nga.gov

Giovanni Della Robbia, Resurrection of Christ
Oakville Galleries- Oakville, Ontario, Canada: Cosima von Bonin
Through May 28, 2017
HAIAMTISCH1 von Bonin epitomizes the protean media- and role-shifting branch of contemporary artistic practice. Her conceptual-feminist work shifts across sculpture, installation, performance, photography, video, and painting, just as von Bonin herself transforms from artist to curator, to DJ, to raconteur, to collaborator. Her hybridized approach finds inspiration in a wide range of sources, including pop culture, fashion, and electronic music, as she tackles ideas of play and indoctrination, structure and improvisation, cultural and gender representations, and identity and self-reflection. Bringing to light a submerged metaphor in her work, “Who’s Exploiting Who in the Deep Sea?” explores her fascination with the shape-shifting sea and the contradictions at the boundary between mysterious, unfathomable depths and a surface world of sun-crazed vacationers.

Web site http://www.oakvillegalleries.com

Cosima von Bonin, HAI AM TISCH 1.
Qatar Museums - Doha, Qatar: JR
Through May 31, 2017
Giants JR, the celebrated (and anonymous) French street artist, has been called “the Cartier-Bresson of the 21st century,” though this self-described photograffeur and “urban artivist” produces much more than flyposted black and white images. He treats the built environment as a laboratory in which art and action combine to address issues of freedom and identity and redress wrongs. Directly challenging media and advertising imagery, his large-scale outdoor installations, films, photographs, and videos engage in a human—indeed humanizing—project, revealing the faces of individuals categorized as unseen, forgotten, or misunderstood. His “pervasive art” has spread uninvited over the buildings and rooftops of Parisian housing projects, on both sides of the Separation Barrier between Palestine and Israel, on broken bridges in Africa, and in the favelas of Rio. Disenfranchised youth, ordinary people turned enemies by government policies, women practicing everyday heroism in conflict zones, and the elderly have all volunteered as subjects, allowing their faces to become part of larger community actions that dissolve barriers between actors and spectators. This retrospective documents key series and works, including the “disappearing pyramid” anamorphosis at the Louvre; video works, screened in a separate lounge, include Ellis (2015), a film set in the abandoned Ellis Island hospital complex, which uses JR’s installations to tell the stories of the immigrants who built America.

Web site www.qm.org.qa


JR, Giants, Rio de Janeiro.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art - San Francisco: Tomás Saraceno
Through May 7, 2017
StillnessinMotion Saraceno confronts fatalistic views of the future with invention and imagination, “looking to the sky to escape the reality of the earth.” Merging sculpture, architecture, and engineering to explore the possibility of a better world, he creates structural and theoretical proposals for sustainable systems of travel and habitation (from cloud clusters to flying gardens and space elevators). The whiff of utopianism in his approach is more than offset by the buoyant exuberance sustaining his clusters of spheres, explosions of lines, and geometric constellations. The visionary proposals in “Stillness in Motion—Cloud Cities” contribute to Saraceno’s long-term project Aero cene, which, he explains, is devoted to “becoming airborne, not to fly but to float in the air at the speed of solar aerostatics, from cumulonimbus cities to the cosmic web.” In this collective sensorial experience, visitors wind their way through a complex array of cords and reflective panels that coalesce into a cloud of 10,000 nodes, bound together by structural principles based on organic constructions— spider webs, stellar and atmospheric clouds, bubble and foam formations— and the social and neural communication networks that mimic them.

Web site www.sfmoma.org


Tomás Saraceno, installation view of "Stillness in Motion- Cloud Cities".
Serpentine Sackler Gallery- London: John Latham, Speak
Through May 21, 2017
The N-U Nidderie Heart Latham, who died in 2006, has been called an “artist’s artist.” A sculptor, painter, performance artist, teacher, and theorist, his significance lies somewhere between Beuys and Rauschenberg as someone whose ideas continue to shape the art of today. Using a wide range of media, he created a visceral and enigmatic body of work that attempted to explore complex cosmological ideas while questioning the function of art in society. His oblique criticism of the art market culminated in 2003 with the designation of Flat Time House (his former home) as a living sculpture open to anyone. “A World View,” which also features a program of workshops and events at Flat Time House, encompasses all strands of Latham’s practice, from sculpture, installation, and painting to land art, engineering, found object assemblage, and performance, examining his creation of a time-based, unified theory of existence that transcends disciplines and positions the artist as a challenger of expert opinion. Like Latham, the artists featured in “Speak” feel compelled to hold a mirror to society. Though their practices are diverse, Tania Bruguera, Douglas Gordon, Laure Provost, and Cally Spooner all engage in dissent from the norm—whether political, social, economic, psychological, or physical—in the hope of reaching a profound reconfiguration of reality as we know it.

Web site www.serpentinegallery.org

John Latham, The N-U Niddrie Heart, No. 10.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum - New York: Anicka Yi
Through July 5, 2017
7,070,430k of Digital Spit, Kunsthalle Basel The recipient of the 2016 Hugo Boss Prize, Yi creates vivid fictional scenarios that question human psychology and the workings of society. Challenging the primacy of vision in the experience of an artwork, she offers the “viewer” a broader perceptual immersion that frequently involves smell and its potent links to memory. Activated with scents that evoke specific emotional states or cultural identities, her work studies the disconnect between the disembodied digital realm and our inescapable reality as corporeal, and therefore entropic, beings, with a particular focus on how biology has been politically weaponized in relation to gender and race. Interweaving micro-organic forms, data collection, and sensory perception, the works in this show cohere into a densely layered examination of the intersecting systems—biological, social, political, and technological— that define our lives, making deeply personal and subjective realities public and strange, and therefore discomforting.

Web site www.guggenheim.org


Anicka Yi, 7,070,430K of Digital Spit, Kunsthalle Basel.
Vleeshal- Middleburg, the Netherlands: Adriano Amaral
Through May 14, 2017
UntitledAmaral conducts in-depth investigations into the nature of things in the world. Within his work, various materials and states of matter intermingle. Natural elements such as water, light, air, sulfur, ground stone, and coal encounter artificial products like silicone, ultrasound gel, clothing, machine fragments, and concrete. These contrasting substances often evoke connections with or act as stand-ins for parts of the human body. “Alloy Alloy” takes its title from metals like bronze, steel, brass, and pewter compounded from a mixture of metals or made by bonding metal with another element. The new works in the show, many of them integrated with the surrounding architecture, create unexpected fusions involving humans, materials, and space while stressing doubling and sculptural pairings. Building on a structural foundation of shoes, bones, and oxygen cylinders, these sometimes uncanny hybrid sculptures provoke an uncomfortable awareness of physical vulnerability and a self-consciousness in the face of our owned twinned parts.

Web site http://vleeshal.nl

Adriano Amaral, Untitled

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