International Sculpture Center

   
April 2012
Vol. 31 No 3

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.

Coolsingel - Rotterdam: Elmgreen and Dragset
Through May 28, 2012

Last year, Elmgreen and Dragset transformed Rotterdam’s former submarine wharf (an industrial cavern rivaling Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall) into an apocalyptic vision of urban decay blurring the line between art and real life. It’s Never Too Late to Say Sorry, their project in the public square of the Coolsingel, continues to target social conventions and behavior. Installed in front of City Hall and other bastions of officialdom, the sculpture consists of a carefully designed display case containing a polished stainless steel megaphone. Every day at noon, a man opens the case, takes out the megaphone, and bellows, “It’s never too late to say sorry.” Perhaps a “powerless gesture” akin to the Powerless Structures with which the duo first achieved notoriety, this staged activist gesture offers at least the hope that someone will step up and highjack the proceedings, turning the faux soapbox into a genuine Speakers’ Corner.
Web site sculptureinternationalrotterdam.nl

Elmgreen and Dragset, It's Never Too Late to Say Sorry.

Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza - New York: Rachel Owens
Through May 31, 2012
Given its location—Manhattan’s historic “Gateway to the UN”—Owens’s Inveterate Composition for Clare can’t help but stage a protest. Composed of disassembled parts from two replica military Hummers welded together into a monumental, formless crash of a composition, the sculpture captures the violent energies that fuel humanity’s pathological need for strife. But this self-contained pile of rubble alludes to more than one type of discord. Covered with metallic icy-white paint, it also evokes a stranded iceberg. The haunting whale songs emanating from its speakers provide a different beat for the drums of war, raising a universal cry of environmental distress barely tempered by optimism.

Web site www.nyc.gov/parks

Rachel Owens, Inveterate Composition for Clare.
Hammer Museum - Los Angeles: Alina Szapocznikow, Carlos Bunga
Through April 18, 2012 / Through April 22, 2012
Szapocznikow began her career in the postwar period as a traditional figurative sculptor, but she turned to radical experimentation in the 1960s, pursuing a new language to express changed conditions. Her reconception of sculpture has left behind a legacy of provocative objects—at once sexualized, visceral, humorous, and political—that sit uneasily at the intersection of Surrealism, Nouveau Réalisme, and Pop Art. Tinted polyester resin casts of lips and breasts transformed into lamps and ashtrays, spongy polyurethane forms embedded with casts of bellies or live grass, and resin sculptures that incorporate found photographs remain as biting and original today as when they were made. This exhibition features extensive archival materials, as well as more than 100 works, including drawings and photographs, that introduce a unique vision to a wider audience. In Bunga’s architecturally scaled installations, mass-produced materials such as cardboard, packing tape, and house paint coalesce in improvised structures that recall temporary shelters or life-size models. With their cheap materials and rapid construction values, these works give the lie to the illusion of permanence that propels human undertaking. Everything is subject to decay and destruction, from buildings and memorials to ideologies and shared values—as underscored by his recent series of sand and cardboard models of imaginary monuments (shown at the XIV Carrara Biennale last year). Bunga’s Hammer Project features a new work made on site, as well as a selection of drawings, paintings, sculptures, and videos.
Tel: + 310.443.7000
Web site www.hammer.ucla.edu

Carlos Bunga, installation view of Hammer Project.
Hayward Gallery - London: Jeremy Deller
Through May 13, 2012
Deller believes that “there’s enough stuff in the world.” Just as he rejects objects (unless they’re repurposed with a redeeming social function), preferring to explore ideas through collaborative endeavors, he also resists the whole mystique of the artist. Inevitably some critics question whether he is an artist at all, but leaving that pointless debate aside, there is no denying that his “theater of therapy,” as one Guardian reader calls it, makes people think—often about things that they’d rather avoid. This mid-career retrospective collects a grab bag of free-ranging works that have helped to rewrite the rules of art. From The Battle of Orgreave—a restaging of the 1984 showdown between police and striking miners, with the participation of those very same Yorkshire policemen and miners—to social action parades and the public discussions spawned by It Is What It Is: Conversations About Iraq—a cross-country tour of the U.S. with an Iraqi man, a U.S. soldier, and a car blown up by a Baghdad bomb—Deller demonstrates that politically engaged art can be nuanced, open-ended, and far from preachy. The show also features a new, get-under-the-skin, 3-D film of bats rising from their Texas cave (a follow-up to his London bat house project competition) and a unique section called “My Failures,” a gallery of never-realized ideas—many of them brave and thought-provoking, such as a proposed statue of David Kelly appearing to jump from the Fourth Plinth.
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7960 4200
Web site www.southbankcentre.co.uk

Jeremy Deller, The Battle of Orgreave.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden - Washington, DC: Suprasensorial: Experiments in Light, Color and Space
Through May 13, 2012
“Suprasensorial”—the term comes from Hélio Oiticica—rewrites the history of the Light and Space movement, recognizing the pivotal role played by Latin American artists. A decade before Light and Space emerged in late-’60s California, Lucio Fontana, Julio Le Parc, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Jesús Rafael Soto, and Oiticica (in collaboration with Neville D’Almeida) were creating environments of light and color that challenged traditional notions of art as static experience. More than just stunning perceptual investigations, their large-scale, multimedia works fused formal and social concerns, bringing the work of art down from its Olympian heights and into the physical world of the viewer. In the five rarely seen installations featured here, participation is open to all, requiring no special knowledge—just the ordinary ability to see, think, feel, and respond
in the face of transformative optical effects that lead to experiences beyond the aesthetic.
Tel: + 202.633.1000
Web site http://hirshhorn.si.edu

Jesús Rafael Soto, Blue Penetrable, from “Suprasensorial.”
Kunsthaus Graz - Graz, Austria: Michael Kienzer
Through May 6, 2012

Kienzer attempts to transform and disrupt acquired viewing habits. Vaguely familiar but altered beyond easy recognition, his sculptures place viewers in unusual circumstances that upend everyday knowledge and replace it with a strange comic logic. This show revolves around a large-scale work that covers the space with traces of possible trajectories, imaginary routes followed by an out- of-control line or ball. Adapted to fit this new scenario, works from the last 10 years display a degree of relativity unusual in objects. Miniature then large, elusive then concrete, sculptural reality becomes mutable and directly subject to the presence of the observer.
Tel: + 43 316/8017 9200
Web site www.museum-joanneum.at/de/kunsthaus

Michael Kienzer, Haltung Vol. 8.

Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein - Vaduz, Liechtenstein: Bojan Sarcevic
Through May 6, 2012
Sarcevic’s installations and sculptures question the capability of art to contribute anything essential to contemporary Western society. Alternating between political engagement and aesthetic retrenchment, he tries out a variety of approaches, forms, and sizes. Whether minimally spare or ravishingly lush, miniature or massive, his work creates spaces of atmospheric density, on the cusp between fullness and emptiness, materiality and dissolution, allusion and precision. But even the lightest and most ethereal of these creations comes with an existential edge: Sarcevic is also the creator of a wilderness survival guide written in a Borat-accented phonetic English and the presenter of a report on Balkan-E.U. geopolitical relations masquerading as an exhibition catalogue. This show features 15 pieces from the last four years, including At Present, whose nine points—from “Are we
living in the most conformist phase in modern history?” to “Why is it that nowadays any possibility of social protest is co-opted and absorbed?”—add up to a virulent critique of a passive and discredited culture.
Tel: + 423 235 03 00
Web site www.kunstmuseum.li

Bojan Sarcevic, The Breath-Taker is the Breath-Taker (Film C).
Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art - Doha, Qatar: Cai Guo-Qiang
Through May 26, 2012
“Saraab,” the title of Cai’s first solo show in the Middle East, means “mirage” in Arabic. Inspired by the longstanding ties between China
and the Arab world (dating back to the ancient maritime Silk Road), this exhibition of more than 50 works explores the seafaring culture of the Gulf and the Islamic history of Cai’s hometown of Quanzhou. More than an acknowledgement of the ephemeral and illusory effects that characterize some of his best-known works, the title also alludes to the difficulties of cultural, temporal, and geographic translation, a seemingly unobtainable goal in this fractured world. Sixteen new commissions include Homecoming, a winding path through 60 rocks taken from Quanzhou and carved with Arabic inscriptions; gunpowder drawings fusing maritime routes with Islamic botanical motifs; and Fragile, an 18-meter-long porcelain and gunpowder mural. Part historical and part personal pilgrimage, “Saraab” traces new paths through the complex web of conceptual and material ties that bind two equally great, but radically divergent traditions.
Tel: + 974.4402.8855
Web site www.mathaf.org.qa

Cai Guo-Qiang, Fragile (detail of work in progress).
MAXXI - Rome: Re-Cycle: Strategies of Architecture, City, and Planet
Through April 29, 2012
This exhibition takes the environmental and economic benefits of recycling as a given, shifting focus to its catalytic potency as a generator of creative innovation.Rome is a strangely perfect host city for such a show: Italian architects and designers (unlike their counterparts in change-obsessed cultures) can rarely build from scratch and have little choice but to retool and reshape a protected (and often resented) architectural legacy—recycled materials and sites are much more than a niche practice here. With a range of realized and unrealized projects from around the world, from early Frank Gehry and Venturi Scott Brown efforts through the High Line by James Corner and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Elisabetta Terragni’s pedestrian passage at the Museo Storico del Trentino, Miniwiz’s Taipei EcoARK pavilion, and the otherworldly soundscape realized by Pierpaolo Perra and Alberto Antioco Loche at an abandoned quarry in Sardinia, “Re-Cycle” demonstrates the endless potential offered by the abandoned, the decaying, and the outdated. Two site-specific interventions by recycling masters Fernando and Humberto Campana and raumlaborberlin transform leftovers, debris, and recovered materials into sculptural constructions that point the way to new syntheses of art and design, architecture, and landscape.
Tel: + 39 (0) 6 39967350
Web site www.fondazionemaxxi.it

Fernando and Humberto Campana, Maloca, from “Re-Cycle.”
Nasher Sculpture Center - Dallas: Elliott Hundley
Through April 22, 2012
Hundley draws on classical mythology, art history, and current events to create epic, theatrical environments. Beginning with photoshoots of live actors, he transfers key dramatic moments and imagery to two- and three-dimensional assemblages, intricately composed of paint, photographs, and organic and found materials (ranging from bamboo, goat hooves, and pine cones to pins, magnifying lenses, and gold leaf). Abstracted distillations of emotion and action, his freestanding compositions take center stage in a fully imagined fictive world that reflects and magnifies enduring human dilemmas and conflicts. Here, he brings contemporary life to Euripedes’s The Bacchae, a saga of familial betrayal and divine vengeance, fraught with ecstatic pleasure, violence, and remorse.
Tel: + 214.242.5100
Web site www.nashersculpturecenter.org

Elliott Hundley, swarming over.
Neuberger Museum of Art - Purchase, New York: Kiki Smith
Through May 6, 2012
Best known for her depictions of the human form—in anatomical fragments as well as full figures—Smith has explored a broad range of subject matter, from religion, folklore, and mythology to natural science, art history, and feminism. Whether realized as room-sized installations or miniatures, her meditations on the human condition display a mastery of materials and their expressive potential: bronze, beeswax, hair, and papier mâché become alternately intimate, visceral, poignant, or fragile invocations of the physical, philosophical, and social issues of our times. “Visionary Sugar” features new multimedia work, including gilded sculptures and reliefs, drawings, and tapestries that expansively engage the natural world, the spirit, and the cosmos, offering a singular vision of an earthly paradise.
Tel: + 914.251.6100
Web site www.neuberger.org

Kiki Smith, Harmonies II.
Reykjavik Art Museum - Reykjavik: Santiago Sierra
Through April 15, 2012

Sierra’s radical and poetic statements focus on economic and power relations, especially repetitive routines and the exchange value of labor. Though critics accuse him of abusing misery, his socially engaged works shed a blinding light on accepted “norms” of inequality and entitlement. He has disassembled a truck piece by piece only to reassemble it in a gallery, invited visitors to Hannover’s Kestner Gesellschaft to re-enact a Hitler-era work program and spread 400 tons of mud, paid prostitutes with heroin in exchange for having lines tattooed on their backs while sitting in a line, and hired laborers to push enormous cement blocks in Sisyphean futility and sit in cardboard boxes during stifling heat. This show presents the first complete showing of his films and video documentation, as well as the latest incarnation of his NO global tour project. The monumental sculptural denial—“just say no” turned anti-establishment—has a habit of showing up in the most politically embarrassing locations, rejecting complacency while issuing an uncompromising fuck you to hegemonic power structures.
Tel: + 354 590 1200
Web site www.artmuseum.is


Santiago Sierra, NO.

Suyama Space - Seattle: Rick Araluce and Steve Peters
Through April 13, 2012
Through April 13, 2012
A visual and sonic tour de force, Uprising pays homage to the functional bones of building systems. Like Rogers and Piano’s Centre Pompidou, this collaborative installation makes the invisible visible, freeing infrastructure from its shadowy confines; but here the focus is on artistry not function. An elaborate network of cast-iron plumbing pipes takes center stage, emerging from the recesses of floor, walls, and ceiling in a surprisingly compelling reminder of the care that craftsmen once lavished even on mundane, hidden details (as opposed to PVC and goop). But these apparent relics are more than artifacts; in fact, they are fakes—meticulously crafted trompe l’oeil facsimiles crafted from wood, plastic, foam, and paint. Fascinated by the evocative beauty of old construction, defunct technology, and disappearing rituals of life, Araluce painstakingly conjures the past, increasingly incorporating sound. Here, Peters provides an evocative acoustic atmosphere with filtered sounds swooshing through the pipes in a chorus of abstract echoes.
Tel: + 206.256.0809
Web site www.suyamapetersondeguchi.com/art

Rick Araluce and Steve Peters, Uprising.

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