International Sculpture Center

   


Dec 2011
Vol.30 No 10

A publication of the
International Sculpture Center
New York - Richard Tuttle: The Pace Gallery
by Jonathan Goodman
The wizardry of Richard Tuttle’s work lies in his visionary use of materials and found objects that, by themselves, do not offer much visual appeal. But once the poles, balls, cotton, and string are pieced together, they create outstanding ad hoc environments, the elements supporting each other in ways that emphasize Tuttle’s off-hand eccentricity. Given to a principled eclecticism, Tuttle’s pieces remind us that his aesthetic dresses down but never succumbs to an overly simplistic sensibility. Instead, an exploratory experimentalism looks to the demotic in a visual sense, arranging bits and pieces of found materials that underscore the freedom of the imagination. Tuttle, who had his first solo show at Betty Parsons Gallery in 1965, has had mixed reviews over the years—the conservative critic Hilton Kramer abhorred his work—but there is an increasing consensus that his art belongs to an exploratory bent, one that is deeply American in its radical stylization and emphasis on raw components. Tuttle’s recent sculptures—assemblages, really—belong to a series called “Structures” and relay his skepticism about big gestures in three-dimensional art....see the entire review in the print version of December's Sculpture magazine.

Richard Tuttle, “System 3, Measurement”, 2011. Plywood, poplar struts, bolts, enamel, balsa wood, carpet tile, molding, vinyl-coated steel cable, galvanized metal, archival paper with acrylic and graphite, duct tape, Saran wrap, paper clips, shrink-wrap, rice paper, balloons, and mixed media, 350.5 x 243.8 x 243.8 cm.
San Francisco - Hasan Elahi: Intersection for the Arts
by Donna Schumacher
San Francisco has been synonymous with political activism since the 1960s, and Intersection for the Arts was right there with her. Since its inception in 1965, Intersection has upheld a rich and varied tradition of supporting work that is actively engaged with political and cultural events. It seems fitting then that, when the Internet rendered downsizing inevitable at the San Francisco Chronicle and the first-floor of the journalism giant’s beloved 1924 “Chron” Building became partially available, Intersection would jump at the opportunity to relocate to this locale at the heart of the city. The inaugural solo exhibition at the organization’s new home blurred the boundaries between the personal and the political, activism and art. Chronicling every movement of artist Hasan Elahi, “Hiding in Plain Sight” combined Minimalist aesthetics, contemporary technology, and a Fluxus dedication to the simple principle of life as art. ...see the entire review in the print version of December's Sculpture magazine.

Hasan Elahi, installation view of “Hiding in Plain Sight,” 2011.
New York - Eli Ping: Susan Inglett Gallery
by Robin Reisenfeld
The works in Eli Ping’s recent exhibition continue his exploration of the dynamic interplay between painting and sculpture and challenge our perceptual understanding of both. In a nod to Ping’s process-oriented making, the show consisted of six large relief pieces that progressively moved from worked planar surfaces to meticulously crafted, three-dimensional forms. Throughout, Ping relies on molding, gouging, hammering, and layering to achieve an understated but kinetically elegant effect that defies his use of pared-down materials such as canvas, acrylic paint, wax, and supports. Diamond- and rectilinear-shaped works such as Hardly Softly, Morning Glory, and Indian Duck resonate with an internal animism and fascinate in their ability to capture a sense of the not-quite-familiar....see the entire review in the print version of December's Sculpture magazine.

Eli Ping, Hardly Softly, 2011. Cotton, gesso, dye, acrylic, and wax, 65 x 52.5 x 12 in.
Cincinnati - “Go Ahead…Touch Me!” Manifest Gallery
by Jane Durrell
Mischievous intent and scrupulous execution do not necessarily go hand in hand in sculpture, but “Go Ahead…Touch Me!” featured works that answer both criteria. Manifest Gallery cast a wide electronic net with its request for “deliberately interactive and touchable” submissions, receiving an international response of more than 100 works. A two-part jury/curatorial process settled on six pieces by five artists, three from the U.S., one from England, and one from Norway. Though the Norwegian entry, from Marisa Ferreira, almost comes off as a painting, it is purposefully and importantly three-dimensional. Transformable Wall Object I (2011) filled almost an entire wall with a gridded arrangement of wooden squares (approximately four inches to a side and about half an inch thick), sporting a bright acrylic color on each and every face. The back sides of the panels were attached to the wall with Velcro, and viewers could arrange and re-arrange at will. ...see the entire review in the print version of December's Sculpture magazine.

Stephanie Robison, Mat, 2004. Fabric, thread, and polyester fiberfill, 64 x 41 in. area. From “Go Ahead…Touch Me!”
Philadelphia - Diane Pepe: Philadelphia Art Alliance
by Leslie Kaufman
It isn’t often that an artist’s intent coalesces seamlessly with the viewer’s experience, but this was indeed the case in Diane Pepe’s recent exhibition, “Connections.” Constructed of simple forms and materials, Pepe’s sculptures radiated a sense of calmness and harmony that pervaded the room. Working only with pebbles, thin strips of wood, and brass rods, she created a landscape of forms that achieved balance between substance and air, energy and stasis, and randomness and control. Pepe’s delicate structures make subtle reference to traditional Japanese house construction with its use of wooden frames and paper walls. Like those houses, her sculptures deny separation and seem to merge with their environment. Delicate vertical and diagonal frameworks appear fragile, but they are securely anchored in beds of pebbles. Lattice-style construction emphasizes negative space, as the air itself becomes a key element in her work. ...see the entire review in the print version of December's Sculpture magazine.

Diane Pepe, Center Triptych, 2008. Brass rods, cherry wood, and river stones, 65 x 84 x 29 in.
Pittsburgh - Bill Vorn: Wood Street Galleries
by Savannah Guz
“Hysterical Machines,” the title of Bill Vorn’s recent exhibition, applies an expression of extreme emotion to insentient devices. This juxtaposition reveals, in part, the artist’s conceptual interest. Three of his featured installations presented embodiments of artificial intelligence, revealing the human tendency to assign emotions to lifeless mechanisms. Based in Montreal, Vorn has worked in the robotics field since 1992. He creates each work as part of a larger research project that he calls “Aesthetics of Artificial Behaviors.” Unlike the human replicants of Philip K. Dick’s sci-fi narratives, Vorn’s experiments bear no resemblance to humans, nor do they manifest any human-style movements. Instead, Vorn points up our tendency to anthropomorphize by denying his machines fur, feathers, flesh, or scales. ...see the entire review in the print version of December's Sculpture magazine.

Bill Vorn, Red Light, 2005. Aluminum, pneumatics, sensors, a/v gear, lasers, computer, various interfaces, and MaxMSP software, dimensions variable.
Basel - “Art Unlimited”: Art Basel
by Laura Tansini
Since 2000, “Art Unlimited” (at the Art Basel fair) has been the ideal place to exhibit oversize sculptures, installations, videos, and performances. Vera Lutter’s Folding Four in One is a good example. The installation consists of four images taken from inside a clock tower, part of an old warehouse in Brooklyn that houses an enormous clock on each of its four sides. Lutter’s installation seemingly places viewers inside the tower, offering four different views of the neighborhood. During the day, the large clock faces/windows illuminate the interior space; at night, the interior illuminates the clock faces. “Art Unlimited” is always a good place to sense the mood of the market. This year featured “classic” works, with little space left to the vagaries of fashion. Old stars, including Carl Andre and David Nash, dominated younger artists....see the entire review in the print version of December's Sculpture magazine.

Cerith Wyn Evans, C=O=N=S=T=E=L=L=A=T=I=O=N (I call your image to mind), 2010. Mixed media, installation view.
Basel - Constantin Brancusi and Richard Serra: Fondation Beyeler
by Stephane Buhmann
At first glance, the works of Constantin Brancusi and Richard Serra have little in common. Serra’s work is an elegantly restrained analysis of how form can define and even dominate a space. His pragmatic and linear approach aims to contextualize the object within the inhabited space and physical reality of the viewer. In addition to its gestural qualities, Serra’s work always initiates a geometric contemplation. In contrast, Brancusi favored subjects and forms rooted in life. Some of his most famous abstractions were inspired by human heads, his muse Margit Pogány, or birds, for example. Even his most geometric work, Endless Column, a stack of rhomboidal modules, functions as the embodiment of the human dream to build a connection to the heavens. All of his works are defined by a unique stylistic blend of simplification, stylization, and genuine sensuality. It is their particular strength that no matter their size or subject matter, Brancusi’s sculptures always evoke a sense of intimacy. ...see the entire review in the print version of December's Sculpture magazine.

Richard Serra, House of Cards, 1969. Lead, 4 plates, 152.4 x 152.4 x 2.5 cm. each.
West Bretton, United Kingdom - Jaume Plensa: Yorkshire Sculpture Park
by Ina Cole
Jaume Plensa’s work provides an antidote to a capitalist world driven by economic principles that treat human beings as largely expendable commodities. In Plensa’s universe, man has the capacity to change the world for the better, and his ethereal figures punctuate our existence with hope. YSP provided a harmonious location for this kind of introspection, with families of works grouped in dialogue with each other and with the sweeping landscape. This exhibition—the most complete showing of Plensa’s work to date—offered a new context for his practice, which usually involves the placement of works in urban settings. Plensa’s work is driven by literary and philosophical sources. The cut steel figures in Silhouettes, a new sculpture specifically created for YSP’s gallery concourse, muse on the words of William Blake, Elias Canetti, and José Ángel Valente. These thoughts are made visible by snaking word formations that rise above their heads, giving physical presence to otherwise intangible concepts. ...see the entire review in the print version of December's Sculpture magazine.

Jaume Plensa, Yorkshire Souls I, II, and III, 2010. Installation view.
Tel Aviv - Nivi Alroy: Fresh Paint 4
by Angela Levine
Interdisciplinary artist Nivi Alroy, recipient of last year’s Igal Ahouvi Art Collection prize, recently presented “Food Chain,” an exhibition of sculptural installations, an animation piece, and paintings. Her ideas draw from phenomena in nature, science, and microbiology, dealing with systems of fusion, symbiosis, transformation, and collapse. Here, as in the past (when working in New York and Paris), one of her main themes was the vulnerability of human territory and possessions to the uncontrollable forces of nature. Some of her pieces also serve as metaphors for the continuation of life after disaster. Alroy constructs her installations from furniture parts—both miniature and full size—architectural elements, and lumps of porcelain-coated polystyrene. Dripping City, which was viewed through a slit in the wall, effectively illustrated the unbroken rhythm of life. ...see the entire review in the print version of December's Sculpture magazine.

Nivi Alroy, Medusa Gigantean, 2011. Mixed media, 240 x 210 x 150 cm.
Dispatch - Israel Museum
by Lilly Wei
Walking up the grand promenade of the refreshed and expanded, $100 million, 20-acre campus of the Israel Museum is exhilarating, even exalting. Approximately five years in the planning and execution, the museum’s 45th-anniversary building project is the most ambitious cultural development enterprise in Israel’s history. The slowly cadenced ascent of the long, stepped runway toward the main plaza feels like a symbolic pilgrimage in a city that is nothing if not symbolic. The trek leads to Anish Kapoor’s striking new commission, Turning the World Upside Down, Jerusalem, a clean, mirror-finished stainless steel hourglass that reflects and inverts sky and museum grounds, in synch with nearby works by Picasso, Henry Moore, and James Turrell. Much more adventurous, however, was the selection of New York designer James Carpenter to lead the project. According to James S. Snyder, the museum’s debonair, indefatigable director and canny mastermind of its destiny since 1996, Carpenter, who is known for his imaginative use of light and glass and his sensitive collaborations, had never built anything entirely his own. ...see the entire review in the print version of December's Sculpture magazine.

View of the Israel Museum, with the Billy Rose Art Garden, Carter Promenade, and Gallery Entrance Pavilion.

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