International Sculpture Center

   


September 2012
Vol. 31 No 4

A publication of the
International Sculpture Center
New York- Carsten Höller: New Museum
by Elna Svenle
Nauseous and uncomfortable, with pumping adrenalin, racing heartbeat, and itching skin—that describes how I felt leaving “Experience,” Carsten Höller’s first New York survey. The exhibition demonstrated just how easy it is to manipulate the human body, especially in an environment where physical reactions are unexpected. Höller’s background in high-level science has had a significant influence on his art. He investigates the human senses, creating elaborate objects and situations that challenge how we see, feel, and experience the world. At the New Museum, he constructed a playful laboratory-like environment, rewarding those willing and able to participate in his “tests”...see the entire review in the print version of September's Sculpture magazine.

Carsten Höller, Untitled (Slide), 2011. Stainless steel, polycarbonate, and canvas mats for sliding.
Washington, DC - “E8: Sculpture”: Transformer
by Sarah Tanguy
In 2004, Transformer launched its “Exercise” program—a peer critique and mentorship program culminating in short exhibitions for participating artists. As last year’s roster attested, the program continues to thrive as a dynamic incubator. In successive offerings, Oreen Cohen, Lindsay Rowinski, and Sean Lundgren mounted distinct and thought-provoking interpretations of the space. All three engineered big and bold interventions that, true to the gallery’s name, transformed limited cubic footage into a mind-expanding venue. On first impression, Cohen’s Running Drill resembled a giant cruciform hoisted onto the gallery’s central beam. Ending in a baptismal font-like basin, the sculpture gave way to clay soil on the floor below...see the entire review in the print version of September's Sculpture magazine.

Oreen Cohen, Running Drill, 2011. Scrap metal, drainage pipe, electrical insulators, rope, gas cans, hand-forged machinery, car parts, I-beam, and mixed media, 13 x 9 x 6 ft.
Boston - Ellsworth Kelly:
Museum of Fine Arts Boston
by Christine Temin
Unlike most Ellsworth Kelly shows, “Ellsworth Kelly: Wood Sculpture” was all brown. This first exhibition devoted exclusively to the artist’s works in wood bypassed the early painted pieces to focus on sculptures that celebrate the color, texture, and grain of the unadorned material. Though this is hardly a neglected part of Kelly’s oeuvre—Curve XXI (1978–80) was included in Kelly’s 1996 Guggenheim retrospective in New York—the fact that everything in the show was made of bare wood allowed viewers to form a cohesive ensemble from pieces spanning nearly four decades...see the entire review in the print version of September's Sculpture magazine.

Ellsworth Kelly, Curve XXI, 1978–80. Birch, 190.5 x 431.8 x 1.9 cm.
New York - Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen: Chambers Fine Art
by Elaine A. King
For more than 10 years, the eminent Chinese artists Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen (who had achieved individual acclaim before they started to collaborate) have been constructing an enduring project based on the chopstick. Their first “Chopstick” exhibition in 2002, which celebrated their 10-year anniversary as a married couple, engaged the eating implement as a metaphor for the personal bonds that connect them. In a second exhibition in late 2006, they moved beyond the commonplace chopstick to investigate more commanding issues such as numinous relationships and symbolic spirituality. “Way of the Chopsticks III,” the most recent iteration of this evolving exploration, opened at precisely 11 a.m. on November 11, 2011. According to Song Dong, the timing was essential, because the number’s graphic rendering resembles the chopstick...see the entire review in the print version of September's Sculpture magazine.

Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen, 2011. Installation view of “Way of the Chopsticks III,” 2011.
New York - Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies (FAPE): United States Mission to the United Nations
by Jill Conner
In 2011, the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies (FAPE) launched one of its most expansive and comprehensive installations of sculpture, located in the United States Mission to the United Nations. FAPE began in 1986 with an art and restoration project in Beijing. It has continued to collect and present prints and paintings at embassies throughout the world, recently adding sculpture as a new component to its programming. The permanent installation housed within the U.S. mission was curated by Robert Storr (chairman of FAPE’s Professional Fine Arts Committee) and features work by 50 artists on the 19 floors...see the entire review in the print version of September's Sculpture magazine.

View of USUN sculpture installation with (left to right) Ron Gorchov, Totem, 2010; Sol LeWitt, Wall Drawing #832: A red spiral line on blue, 2010; and Lynda Benglis, D’Arrest, 2009
New York - Ligorano/Reese:
Jim Kempner Fine Art
by Jonathan Goodman
“ICED,” Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese’s recent exhibition, had genuine political clout—a real achievement for this collaborating couple, since so much political art in America undermines itself with rhetorical overstatement and callow self-righteousness. Ligorano/Reese are best known for their digitally manipulated photographic portrait series in which conservatives such as George W. Bush and Karl Rove appear in mug shots like common criminals. “ICED” continued the dark, left-leaning social commentary with digital prints and a video documenting sculptural works...see the entire review in the print version of September's Sculpture magazine.

Ligorano/Reese, Morning In America, 2011. 2 views of ice sculpture, 22 x 4 ft.
New York - Liliana Porter: Hosfelt Gallery
by Jan Garden Castro
Although many artists incorporate figurines, toys, animals, and signs into their work, Liliana Porter’s take on this strategy stands out for its overtly political, international layers. For example, one work in her recent show, The Intruder, juxtaposes a crowd of over 50 figurines varying in size, era, material, and culture. A white knitted toy poodle, Mao in a gray uniform, a cowgirl, and a white porcelain Chinese figure take precedence in terms of size, followed by birds, ducks, Pinocchio, a very small drum-playing pig, a tiny clown, and a dog. The smallest players in this ensemble piece include a wooden Mickey Mouse and a replica of Jackie and Jack Kennedy in their presidential convertible...see the entire review in the print version of September's Sculpture magazine.

Liliana Porter, Man with Axe (detail), 2011. Wooden platform with objects, 45 x 144 x 152 in.
Cincinnati - Alysia Fischer: Manifest Gallery
by Jane Durrell
Alysia Fischer’s recent exhibition, “Consumption,” featured seven extraordinarily handsome works made from what she calls “diverted materials,” specifically inner tubes from a local landfill. In Chrysalis Forms (2011), Fischer turns the stiffly awkward substance of the tubes into a pair of suspended, lacy, almost egg-shaped forms. The elongated ovals cut from the material to produce this open look were scattered on the floor below. Each piece hung on a hand-forged steel hook, also made of diverted material...see the entire review in the print version of September's Sculpture magazine.

Alysia Fischer, Imminent, 2009. Hand-sewn inner tube, valve stems, and upholstery stuffing, 7 x 10 x 7 in.
Philadelphia - Paul Swenbeck:
Fleisher/Ollman Gallery
by Becky Huff Hunter
For more than a decade, Paul Swenbeck has made cross-media work that materially explores the translation of marginalized practices into contemporary culture. His visual and theoretical sources range from the occult (he grew up in Salem, Massa?chusetts), folk expression, and pre-scientific phenomena to sci-fi illustration and the debunked psychoanalytic experiments of Wilhelm Reich. For his recent exhibition, “Dor and Oranur,” he drew on prehistoric forms to produce two dramatic tableaux envisioning the early conflicts and practices of human and animal life. The show’s epic staging was multi-sensory. Orange, green, and blue filtered lighting dappled the walls and ceiling; low-lying octagonal plinths stretched with shiny spandex sagged under the weight of Swenbeck’s ceramics; and an ambient soundtrack produced in collaboration with Aaron Igler pulsed from multiple speakers. ...see the entire review in the print version of September's Sculpture magazine.

Paul Swenbeck, installation view with (left to right) Familiars, 21 x 6 x 5 in.; Familiars, 2 x 8 x 7.5 in.; Untitled (from Crinoid series), 39 x 18 x 19 in.; and Familiars, 15 x 5 x 6 in. All works ceramic, 2011.
West Vancouver, Canada - Sonny Assu:
West Vancouver Museum
by Dion Kliner
Sonny Assu, an Aboriginal artist from Vancouver, is gaining attention for his reversal of early 20th-century art history. More than 100 years after Western artists “advanced” art by looking “back” at Aboriginal culture, Assu is turning to Western art to modernize Aboriginal traditions of the Northwest Coast. His sculptures are simple, found objects, off-cuts of raw cedar from the production of luxury log homes. Concave in back, flat-sided, truncated wedges in front, these remnants are unavoidably mask-like: the flat frontal plane configures forehead, nose, and chin; center rings and knots make eyes; cracks open into mouths. Assu’s works share a generalized form, like faces smoothed and distorted by a stocking, but they are distinct enough to convey specific character. ...see the entire review in the print version of September's Sculpture magazine.

Sonny Assu, Longing #10, 2011. Found cedar and brass, 12.3 x 13 x 9 in.
Dublin - Éamonn O’Doherty:
Kevin Kavanagh Gallery
by Brian McAvera
About two weeks before this exhibition opened, I was sitting at the bedside of Éamonn O’Doherty in a Dublin cancer hospital. He had been given two months to live (though, in the end, he only got three weeks), but he faced dying in the same manner that he broached his sculpture: with impish and iconoclastic good humor, a lunchtime bottle of red wine, and a request that I do a “proper” interview with him, “proper” meaning a no-holds-barred, utterly indiscreet assassination of all those he considered morally contemptible in the world of art. We never did finish the interview. O’Doherty was an architect as well as a sculptor, so he knew the practical aspects of public art commissions. Strong democratic instincts supported his conception of public art as a space and focus for all people, not just an aesthetic statement made by the artist. ...see the entire review in the print version of September's Sculpture magazine.

Éamonn O’Doherty, Armoured Pram, 2010. Bronze, 75 x 41 x 51 cm.
Taichung, Taiwan - 2011 Asian Art Biennial “Mediation/Meditation”:
National Museum of Fine Arts
by Jane Ingram Allen
“Mediation/Meditation,” the third edition of the Asian Art Biennial, was curated by Iris Shu-ping Huang of the National Museum. The dual theme made an additional allusion to Japanese economist Kenichi Ohmae’s theory of the M-shaped society, which describes the global decline of the middle class and its replacement with equal peaks of rich and poor. Though the subject was interesting and the title catchy, the selected works—many of them very large or room-sized—would have fit into almost any exhibition. ...see the entire review in the print version of September's Sculpture magazine.

Tiffany Singh, Newton and Piece Bomb, 2010/11. Paper, string, spices, and pigments, dimensions variable.

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