International Sculpture Center

   


January/February 2013
Vol. 32 No 1

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.

Contemporary Art Museum - Raleigh, North Carolina: Angel Otero
Through February 4, 2013
For Otero, oil paint is a sculptural material, capable of taking on form and mass. His “paintings” throw off the trappings of conventional process from the start. He covers glass with multiple layers of color (in reverse order), allows them to partially dry, then scrapes off the entire built-up composition and transfers it to canvas, where it takes on a life of its own as material. In addition to oil skins that can stretch, fold, and wrinkle into complex surfaces (deep relief and fully dimensional), he molds drying paint like clay and salvages desiccated scrapings as ready-made fragments. All of these elements find their way into sculptural assemblages, where they combine with porcelain, iron, found items, and furniture to create distinctive objects and installations that fuse rebellious improvisation and discovery with memory and the remnants of tradition. Tel: 919.513.0946 Web site www.camraleigh.org

Angel Otero, work-in-progress for CAM Raleigh.
Dallas Museum of Art - Dallas: Karla Black
Through March 17, 2013
Black describes her work as “almost painting, performance, or installation while actually, and quite definitely, being sculpture.” Ephemeral, floor-based pieces and remarkable hanging sculptures appear untouchably fragile, exuding a vulnerable and provocative beauty that masks a serious dialogue with nature and culture. In addition to addressing developmental experience, complete with sensory recollections awakened through powder paint, crushed chalk, and sugar paper, her work slyly alludes to tired associations with the feminine. Lipstick, nail varnish, self-tanners, and other tools of enhancement (some permanently wet and festering) interrupt otherwise clean surfaces, but their role extends beyond critique. For this show, she has made two new installations of commanding scale and presence that defy metaphor while summoning an almost endless succession of associations. Tel: 214.922.1200 Web site: http://dallasmuseumofart.org

Karla Black, Necessity.
Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea - Turin: Salvatore Scarpitta
Through February 3, 2013
Scarpitta, dubbed “the outlaw of art and racing,” turned his love of speed into an art form. Vehicles of all types dominate his work, from reconstructed racing cars (built for use as
well as display) to primitive sleds,
which he began to produce in 1974.
His interest in automotive power reached its peak that same year with Lynx, a rebuilt Italian World War II armored desert reconnaissance vehicle. Strapped to the floor, cannon sealed, and sides flanked by Red Cross awnings (each filled with
a pool of water), the tank retools aggression into pacification—a recurring theme in Scarpitta’s work, which seems to seek a redemptive, counter-mythology on the order of Beuys, an apologia for succumbing to the allure of beastly machines. This retrospective, which focuses on works from the ’50s and ’60s, reveals an artist of wide-ranging technical and formal experimentation, willing to archaize modernity and blur industrial precision with handcraft, found components, and organic materials to create vehicles of imaginative adventuring.
Tel: + 39 011 4429518
Web site: www.gamtorino.it

Salvatore Scarpitta, Kite for Invasion.
Guggenheim Bilbao - Bilbao: Claes Oldenburg
Through February 17, 2013
Over the course of a long solo and collaborative career, Oldenburg redefined the concept of sculpture, disrupting expectations of how ordinary objects “behave.” His work seems to speak a clear language of the everyday and commonplace, but behind the façade of familiarity lies a subversive urge to disrupt the commodity and reveal its strangeness as a symbol of imagination, desire, and obsession. This show, which highlights the metamorphic heart of his ground-breaking early work from the 1960s, features a plethora of transmogrified items, from a biomorphic ray gun to home décor staples, in addition to rarely seen film footage. It also offers an unprecedented gathering of key elements from The Street and The Store, landmark temporary installations that plunged viewers into the role of protagonists querying their own behavior in the face of urban encounter and commerce. The Mouse Museum, a walk-in collection of 385 souvenirs, bits of kitsch, and studio models, doubles as a window into the artist’s mind, where the detritus of capitalist culture washes up in all its incredible variety and mystery. Tel: + 34 944 35 90 80 Web site www.guggenheim-bilbao.es

Claes Oldenburg, Pastry Case I.
Hamburger Kunsthalle - Hamburg: Annette Wehrmann
Through March 3, 2013
Beginning with performance-attacks on Hamburg’s flower-boxes and continuing until her death in 2010, Wehrmann was a leading participant in Europe’s renewed politicization of art. Somewhere between sculpture and intervention, her work drew on conceptual and action art, as well as the language of the Situationist International. Using ephemeral and cheap materials, she explored tension-fraught issues such as economic justice, religion, the media, and the inequities of urban life. In Ort des Gegen (Place of Opposition), she sought out empty spaces within the public realm that could be charged with individual forms of personal resistance. As she described it, these are “site[s] of fracture for purposeless negation, in particular for the aimless passing of time, materialized in the increase/ accumulation of waste. [They] lie somewhere between coming to a standstill and radical liberation.” This show of works recently acquired for the museum’s collection includes a group of oversized brick “footballs,” drawings of interventions, and videos of actions. Tel: + 49 (0) 40 428 131 200 Web site www.hamburger-kunsthalle.de

Annette Wehrmann, Absolut der richtige Sport für mich!.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden - Washington, DC: Ai Weiwei
Through February 24, 2013
Ai’s first major U.S. exhibition covers the entire course of his eclectic output—photography, video, ceramic and marble works, and altered antiques—every piece aimed at a different chamber in the contradictory heart of Chinese culture. Probing relationships between past and present, authenticity and imitation, worthlessness and value, individual and crowd, freedom and oppression, these conceptually complex and visually provocative works push limits and defy censorship (though a hand-sculpted security camera guarantees good behavior). The Hirshhorn’s carefully considered installation (with the artist consulting) charts Ai’s escalating activism and inevitable collision with China’s ruling regime, effectively stymieing claims that equate him with Warhol. The newest work makes the strongest statement yet, both politically and visually. Rising and falling in a succession of seismic waves, 38 tons of ramrod-straight rebar inscribe a fault line along a 12-meter-long stretch of floor—each piece recovered as a twisted and contorted ruin from the wreckage of collapsed school buildings in Sichuan and painstakingly restored. More than an emanation of tragic negligence, Straight serves as documentary evidence (as chilling as the salvaged backpacks of missing children or the Sichuan Earthquake Photos), a warning, and a hopeful inspiration. In Ai’s words: “The tragic reality of today is reflected in the true plight of our spiritual existence: we are spineless and cannot stand straight.” In conjunction with “According to What,” the Sackler Gallery is showing Ai’s large-scale installation Fragments (2005), which pits traditional joinery against the forces of modernization. When seen from above, the forest of arching forms (cobbled-together remnants of works made from antiques and temple elements) coalesces into a map of China, suggesting that national identity—far from a hegemonic monolith—can only rise on a foundation composed of discrete parts. Tel: 202.633.1000 Web site: http://hirshhorn.si.edu

Ai Weiwei, Straight.
Kunsthalle Wien - Vienna: Daniel Knorr
Through February 28, 2013
In his new outdoor work for the museum’s Karlplatz public space, Knorr materializes what most of us know only as a disembodied image filtered through mass media and video games. Explosion captures a process that spans only fractions of a second, suspending the expansion of a bomb’s shock wave and rendering it physically graspable. Frozen in time, given palpable mass and force, this everyday metaphor regains substance. In the stillness, there is space to think about the ramifications and consequences of conflict, and our individual role in it—as observer, consumer, perpetrator, critic, or victim. Tel: + 43 1 52189 0 Web site: www.kunsthallewien.at

Daniel Knorr, Explosion.
Malmö Konsthall - Malmö, Sweden: Thea Djordjadze
Through January 27, 2013
Djordjadze makes small, elusive sculptures from humble materials and domestic detritus, including plaster, wood, ceramic, glass, fabric, sponges, soap, and cardboard. Her installations evolve on site as she gathers individual objects into settings created from more formal, controlled elements. Though these inexplicable assemblages hint at narrative and personal recollection, they refute explanation and refuse coherent resolution. The artifacts themselves project a certain power, retaining something of the aura that injects Surrealist juxtaposition with frisson or infuses Beuys’s materials with shamanistic/ritualistic potency, but their efficacy is held in check by a doubting literalism—an effective and sometimes uncomfortable combination. Tel: + 46 40-34 12 93 Web site: www.konsthall.malmo.se

Thea Djordjadze, installation view with Fortified by being transplanted and Endless enclosure.
Maryland Institute College of Art - Baltimore: Lenore Tawney
Through March 17, 2013

Credited with creating what we now call “fiber art,” Tawney redefined the scope of possibility not only in weaving, but also in sculpture. Blurring boundaries between art and craft, she traversed multiple disciplines, including collage, assemblage, installation, and the written word, in an effort to find creative liberation. Immersive processes revealed ways around accepted conventions, showing a direction that fused art and life in a series of acts involving gathering, sorting, building up, and paring down materials. This two-part survey (the second part is at Baltimore’s University of the Arts) also marks the first public showing of the materials and personal collections that formed the core of her carefully curated studio/ gallery/sanctuary/home, a Gesamtkunstwerk of unexpected juxtapositions and experiences. Such work, combining far-flung cultural references, ancient and modern techniques, conceptual rigor and material passion, was certainly, in Agnes Martin’s words, “wholly unlooked for.” Tel: 410.225.2300 Web site: www.mica.edu

Lenore Tawney, Drawing in Air XVII.

Mass MoCA - North Adams, Massachusetts: Invisible Cities
Through February 4, 2013
Like Italo Calvino’s tour-de-force novella of fantastical description, “Invisible Cities” (the exhibition) presents urban landscapes both familiar and imaginary, leaving the viewer, just like the reader, to decide between reality and mirage. Memory, desire, loss, history, and atmosphere all conspire to dissolve the solidity of buildings and streets, giving rise to other, constantly changing shadow cities—each one built to the dreamer’s specifications. Featured artists Lee Bul, Carlos Garaicoa, Sopheap Pich, Emeka Ogboh, Diana Al-Hadid, Francesco Simeti, Miha Strukelj, Kim Faler, and Mary Lum remind us that any city is as much an idea, a psychological and emotional experience, as an assemblage of asphalt, brick, steel, and glass. Their sensorial spectrum reinforces Aldo Rossi’s frequently violated maxim that “in order to be significant, architecture must be forgotten, or must present only an image for reverence which subsequently becomes confounded with memories.” Tel: 413.662.2111 Web site www.massmoca.org

Diana Al-Hadid, Nolli’s Orders, from “Invisible Cities.”
Museum für Gegenwartskunst - Basel: Robert Gober
Through February 10, 2013
The conjunction of the familiar and the unusual in Gober’s sculptures and installations exerts a seductive fascination. Subtly, yet purposefully diverging from everyday reality, his works—whether replicas of domestic objects such as washbasins, playpens, urinals, and bundles of newspapers or representations of the fragmented human body—confuse the boundary between the ordinary and the unknown. This exhibition, which centers on the site-specific installation Split Wall with Drains (1994–95), focuses on works that defy orientation and embrace transition. Considering the drain as a boundary between light and dark, the visible and the concealed, surface and subterranean worlds, these uneasy imitations of the apparently normal venture into potentially menacing zones where clear-cut categories no longer apply and bodily experience must be constantly renegotiated. Tel: + 41 (0) 61 206 62 62 Web site www.kunstmuseumbasel.ch

Robert Gober, Melted Rifle.
Museum of Modern Art - San Francisco: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
Through February 3, 2013
One of the most important media artists to emerge in the 1990s, Mexican-born, Montreal-based Lozano-Hemmer explores the politics of public space through architecture, new media, and performance. Originally developed in response to the Mexican government’s crackdown on pirate radio stations in Chiapas and Guerrero and shown here for the first time in the U.S., Frequency and Volume, Relational Architecture 9 (2003) transforms viewers into partially witting radio receivers and transmitters. Responding to the size and position of human shadows on the wall via a computer tracking system, the installation leads participants to use their bodies as tuners for a range of public and private frequencies—from commercial music stations to police bands, wireless telecomm systems, and air traffic control. Raising timely questions about who has access to public space (whether real or virtual) and who controls communication, Frequency and Volume also reveals the two-sided bargain at the heart of these exchanges: for every conversation, there is a listener (whether we’re aware of it or not). Tel: 415.357.4000 Web site www.sfmoma.org

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Frequency and Volume, Relational Architecture 9.

Staatliche Kunsthalle - Baden-Baden, Germany: Bilderbedarf: The Civic and the Arts
Through February 17, 2013
“Bilderbedarf,” the first of two exhibitions exploring the relevance of art to public discourse, examines the past 60 years, asking whether and through what means art has impacted the world at large. While some of the featured artists are known for their activist intent (Francis Alÿs, Joseph Beuys, Jeremy Deller, and Alfredo Jaar), other choices seem unusual at first glance (Karin Sander and Gerhard Richter). Curators Johan Holten, Hendrik Bündge, and Jacob Racek made their selections according to one primary criterion—concrete and verifiable effect in the social realm. Such effects can be indirect (René Block’s 1968 gift of German art to the Czech village of Lidice, which was destroyed by the Nazis, closed not one, but two painful histories when it was finally handed over after a 30-year disappearance in the wake of the Prague Spring), as well as direct (Christoph Schlingensief’s Ausländer Raus! [Foreigners Out!, 2000], a reality-TV performance in which people voted to evict immigrants from a container village sparked public discussions about the strict deportation policies of Austria’s right-wing Freedom Party). Symbolic gestures, catalysts for discussion and debate, and props in popular movements, artworks, according to this show, can make a difference in the public realm, even from inside the gallery. Tel: + 49 7221-30076-400 Web site: www.kunsthalle-baden-baden.de

Francis Alÿs, When Faith Moves Mountains, from “Bilderbedarf.”
Utah Museum of Fine Arts - Salt Lake City: Nancy Holt
Through January 20, 2013
Since the late 1960s, Holt has created a variety of ambitious projects conjoining sculpture, architecture, and time-based media. “Sightlines” offers an in-depth look at a group of pioneering projects, dating from 1966 to 1980, in which she transformed perceptions of the landscape by directing and influencing the viewer’s observational mode. In these films, videos, photographs, installations, and outdoor interventions, she developed a unique aesthetics of perception, employing cylindrical forms, light, and techniques of reflection to explore perspective, time, and space. Visitors to this show, which features elements from more than 40 projects, can also follow in the footsteps of the legendary Land Art exodus, abandoning the city for the remote wilderness. Holt’s iconic Sun Tunnels (1973–76), just a four-hour drive away in Utah’s Great Basin, puts all of her principles into play. Not much to look at in themselves, the concrete cylinders act as a buffer between nature and culture, anchoring the human body in an unknown expanse while visually and physically translating a vast desert landscape into bite-size compositions that change with the orientation of the earth and celestial bodies. Tel: 801.581.7332 Web site www.umfa.utah.edu

Nancy Holt, Sun Tunnels (detail)
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts - San Francisco: Nayland Blake
Through January 27, 2013
Blake’s mixed-media work has been described as disturbing, provocative, elusive, tormented, sinister, hysterical, brutal, and tender—not to mention masochistic. Among his best-known pieces are a log cabin made of tempting gingerbread squares (Feeder, 1992) and a tap-dance performance in which he wears a bunny suit of the same weight as his lover (Starting Over, 2000). Though his reputation rests on symbol-laden works of black and white rabbits, ghosts, black liquid, and household objects gone awry, he is now returning to an earlier, more intuitive, and spontaneous approach to sculpture. The works featured in “FREE!LOVE!TOOL!BOX!” pay tribute to his San Francisco years, when he forged a new aesthetic to express a radicalized gay urban subculture. Like Equipment for a shameful epic (1993), with its ready-made assembly kit of materials, these new sculptures rely on “upcycling,” bricolage, and a selective reordering of a lifetime’s worth of relics; brought together by chance, each piece is nothing less than the residue of a performative process and a way to bring repressed attitudes to the surface. Tel: 415.978.2787 Web site: www.ybca.org

Nayland Blake, installation view of “FREE!LOVE!TOOL!BOX!.”

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