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June 2014
Vol. 33 No. 5

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.

Bielefelder Kunstverein, Bielefeld, Germany: Michael Beutler
Through July 27, 2014
Michael BeutlerBeutler’s bricolage installations carry the history of their making. Products of industrial actions—tearing, folding, bending, and compressing—performed by artist-built machines, these eccentric works lay bare their processual development. As components take shape, invited collaborators introduce unpredictability into the rote rhythms of the assembly line. Creatively “flawed” through experimentation, accident, reversal, and correction, Beutler’s projects—everything from alternative carpet weaving to ersatz indoor gardens—reflect on the trajectory that leads from craftsmanship to industrial production to post-industrial service industries. Here, he again turns a museum into a space of production and presentation, devoted to the shaping of ephemeral experience.
Web site bielefelder-kunstverein.de


Michael Beutler, The Gardens.
Chatsworth, Bakewell, U.K.: Michael Craig-Martin
Through June 29, 2014
 Michael Craig-Martin A powerful influence on the YBA generation, many of whom studied with him at Goldsmith’s College School of Art, Craig-Martin is a key figure in early British conceptualism. From early box-like constructions in the late ’60s, he soon turned to ordinary household objects, playing sculpture against the logic of its sources. An Oak Tree (1974), for instance, consisted of nothing more than a water-filled tumbler on a high shelf, accompanied by a text asserting that, despite appearances, he had transubstantiated glass and water into bark and leaves. By the late ’70s, he discovered his true inspiration in a series of line drawings that distilled everyday objects into simple, iconic outlines. This ever-expanding vocabulary of elegantly restrained images still drives his work today. At Chats­worth, 12 large-scale sculptures disport across the lawns and through the gardens— each one an immense unfolding of line in space that captures the essence of its subject (umbrella, high-heel shoe, wheelbarrow)—while an artist-curated tour of the house traces new paths for classical sculpture.
Web site www.chatsworth.org

Michael Craig-Martin, Umbrella (purple).

Gemeentemuseum, The Hague: Complex Images
Through June 22, 2014
Mark DionArt doesn’t care about definitions. As artists continue to explore new possibilities of form, subject, and materials, collapsing once solid parameters of practice, they give no consideration to those poor critics who will have to categorize and parse their promiscuous, boundary-defying creations. Art or craft or design; sculpture or painting or architecture? Sculpture or installation? The line between the last two once seemed clear cut—object versus space—but over the last few years, a tentative qualifier has infiltrated art writing. Just what is “sculptural installation”? Is there a true middle ground between object and space that might offer a fruitful area of exploration, or is the designation nothing more than a chimera formed by an over-stimulated critical compulsion to order? “Complex Images” doesn’t answer the question, but it allows artists such as Karla Black, Mark Dion, Aukje Koks, Berlinde De Bruyckere, and Fred Sandback, among others, to speak for themselves as they dissolve the object and assemble space.
Web site www.gemeentemuseum.nl

Mark Dion, Marine Invertebrates (detail). From “Complex Images.”
Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, U.K.: Ian Kiaer
Through June 22, 2014
Ian KiaerKiaer’s barely materialized sculptures prefer proposals of form to bold solidity. Coaxing repurposed debris such as packing foam, chocolate wrappers, abandoned Perspex sheets, and pieces of paper into the semblance of objects, he questions value and form through encounter. As these unmoored, shadowy presences coalesce into ensembles, they conjure a surprisingly effective, illusionary atmosphere out of spartan theatricality. But his ambitions go deeper: titles trace a path through a dense tangle of intellectual history, indicating connections to radical proposals in art, architecture, phi­losophy, and social theory. “Tooth House,” which brings together a selection of works made between 2005 and 2014, refers to Frederick Kiesler’s quirky 1940 design for a residence rooted in its environment. Through a series of fragmentary models—the ideal tool to test scale, materiality, and encounter—Kiaer picks apart the utopian desire to unify lived experience with structures for organizing the world, offering a series of tentative procedures that magnify half-formed thoughts and reframe contextual limitations.
Web site www.henry-moore.ac.uk


Ian Kiaer, a.r. nef, sol.
Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin: Sheela Gowda
Through June 22, 2014
Sheela GowdaInitially trained as a painter, Gowda turned to sculpture and installation in the 1990s, using unconventional materials to expose the social contradictions and environmental realities that define contemporary Indian life. In her works, everyday objects and the mundane stuff of daily living—including tar barrels, plumbing pipes, doorjambs, thread, newspapers, hair, incense, cow dung, turmeric dye, and votive figurines—are transformed into rigorously beautiful sculptural presences. But a second reading, in which context comes into play, undermines pure formalism to reveal precise statements, which are not always benign. Sensual and unsettling, the works featured in her 20-year survey, “Open Eye Policy,” evoke some of the darkest aspects of human experience, conjuring “the insidious nature of violence, overt and insidious in our psychic makeup.”
Web site www.imma.ie


Sheela Gowda, Breaths.
The Jewish Museum, New York: Other Primary Structures
Through August 3, 2014
Other Primary Structures
A moment of epiphany in Minimalist hagiography, “Primary Structures” (1966) presented reductivist sculpture to the world. Featuring works by Andre, Flavin, Judd, LeWitt, De Maria, Morris, and Caro, as well as Judy Chicago and Anne Truitt, this seminal exhibition codified a movement, setting out the conceptual and aesthetic goals of stripped-down, naked geometric form as a universal impulse—even as it introduced the thorny problem of the artist as designer, not maker. The show, however, only told part of the story, and that from the perspective of “Younger American and British Sculptors,” as qualified by its mostly forgotten subtitle. “Other Primary Structures” adds some missing strands, with works by 26 artists once considered at the margins of the art world. While Lygia Clark, Helio Oiticica, Lygia Pape, Gego, and other Latin Americans have already been written into history as important counterweights to Anglo-American dominance, contributions by Amir Nour, Rasheed Araeen, Lee Ufan, Nobuo Sekine, Antonieta Sosa, Kishio Suga, and other less familiar names offer the possibility of a more nuanced understanding of the role that culture plays even in the barest of forms.
Web site www.thejewishmuseum.org

Installation view of “Other Primary Structures.”
Kunstverein Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany: Julius von Bismarck
June 15–July 27, 2014
Julius von BismarckThe first resident artist at CERN, the world’s largest particle physics research facility, von Bismarck develops inventions and installations that conjoin art, science, and technology in provocative ways. Considering his interests, it’s not surprising that he did his graduate work at Berlin’s Institute for Spatial Experiments, founded by Olafur Eliasson. But von Bismarck’s work offers more than jaw-dropping spectacle. Image Fulgurator (which won first prize at Ars Electronica in 2008) hacks nearby cameras, smuggling its alien images into other photographs without the photographer’s knowledge. Public Face used algorithms to analyze the expressions of people on the streets of Berlin, then relayed the surveillance data to a giant neon smiley face, which eerily beamed a reflection of the city’s mood back down on residents. His new installation puts everyone at the center of their own universe: a combination of centrifugal and gravitational force allows each visitor to become the still point of a five-meter-diameter, rotating paraboloid without ever sensing the tilt and motion surrounding them. Like any good scientist, von Bismarck is serving as an initial test subject, inhabiting his Egocentric System continuously for one week to document the radical shift in subjective experience produced by a metaphorical model and experimental set-up that indulges selfish illusion.
Web site www.kunstvereingoettingen.de


Julius von Bismarck, Image Fulgurator.
Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin: Ai Weiwei
Through July 7, 2014
Ai Weiwei
A wide-ranging creator, Ai has engaged in a huge range of interdisciplinary projects, everything from sculpture and installation to architecture, design, publishing, and curating—not to mention the politically volatile blogging and activist efforts that put him on a collision course with China’s ruling regime. “Evidence,” his largest solo exhibition to date (despite his continuing house arrest), marks the next step in a series of high-profile international exhibitions designed to emphasize two of his most direct statements: a basic postulate, “Liberty is about our right to question everything,” and its logical consequence in the face of denial, “You have to act or the danger becomes stronger.” In addition to the Sichuan earthquake tragedy, the rising conflict over the Pacific Diaoyu Islands (carved in the same marble used by China’s historic emperors and current rulers), and the corruption that brings tainted foodstuffs to the public, recent works also explore the collision of past and present. For Ai, Modernism remains a tool of heroic struggle, “the ultimate observation of the meaning of existence and the misery of reality; it keeps a wary eye on society and power; it never makes compromises and never cooperates.” Art is the proof that will stand up in court.
Web site www.gropiusbau.de


Ai Weiwei, Stools.
Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, New Jersey: Robert Smithson
Through June 22, 2014

Robert SmithsonStraddling Land Art and Minimalism, Smithson’s defiance of conventions has had a lasting impact on contemporary art and the cultural landscape. His non-traditional materials—language, mirrors, maps, dump trucks, abandoned quarries, hotels, and earth—helped move art out of the museum and into the wider sphere of experience. This show brings together sculptures, works on paper, and photographs produced in his home state of New Jersey. Of particular interest are the Nonsites that he created from unorthodox materials such as sand, limestone, concrete, and rocks collected in Franklin, the Pine Barrens, Bayonne, and Edgewater. This is the first time that these four Nonsites have been shown together, making the case that Smithson’s projects in the Garden State form a coherent body of work shedding light on his larger artistic practice.
Web site www.montclairartmuseum.org

Robert Smithson, Red Sandstone Corner Piece.

Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence: Arlene Shechet
Through July 6, 2014
Arlene ShechetDuring a residency at the renowned Meissen Manufactory, Shechet worked alongside master artisans, learning their techniques, using their tools, and observing long-held traditions. But the ornate porcelain confections on which the company built its reputation as a purveyor of luxury goods held little interest for her; instead, she turned to the humble, utilitarian, production forms behind the rarefied finished objects, reconnecting the perfect and precious with the dirt and flame of their genesis. Her “molds of molds”—derived from 47 historic patterns and reconceived in unanticipated combinations—offer a “pretty racy view of porcelain,” complete with seams, inventory numbers, and other production warts. Subverting the language of craftsmanship in harness to industry, “Meissen Recast” inverts the traditional hierarchy of artist, artisan, and factory worker—a project that comes to full fruition with Shechet’s reinstallation of historic Meissen figurines and tableware.
Web site www.risdmuseum.org


Arlene Shechet, More than Full, with Bird.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles: Mike Kelley
Through July 28, 2014
Mike Kelley
Once the enfant terrible of L.A., Kelley became one of the most influential artists of recent decades, a contemporary Virgil guiding us through the realms of pop culture, Modernist tradition, and the uncanny. This retrospective brings together more than 200 works, dating from the 1970s to his untimely death last year, filling the entire Geffen Contemporary at MOCA with every conceivable mode of artistic expression. Sculpture, drawing, performance, music, video, photography, and painting—Kelley used all means necessary to explore the conditions of his moment in time, as well as his place in it. His prolific output barely manages to contain all the repressed memories, adolescent angst, and political anger crammed into its confines, spaces further crowded by the specters of institutional power and personal hindsight. Yet through the lurking fears and the disjunctions, the relentless self-examination and critique, and the fault lines between sacred and profane, there is a glimpse of something transcendent, a remaking of a flawed world through humor, courage, and creativity.
Web site www.moca.org

Mike Kelley, From My Institution to Yours.
Museum Het Domein, Sittard, the Netherlands: Brandon Ballengée
Through June 29, 2014
Brandon BallengeeA research biologist as well as an artist, Ballengée explores loss—of habitat, of species, and of oppor­tunities to engage with the natural world in meaningful ways. As a teenager, he witnessed the decline and death of a beloved natural enclave in suburban Ohio, as developers cut trees, buried a stream, and transformed a place teeming with “mysterious life” into yet another sterile subdivision. Never forgetting this lesson, he has devoted his career to a hybrid practice that combines compelling aesthetic form with marine science and environmental activism. His multi-disciplinary works develop from field and laboratory research, both conducted in collaboration with scientists, students, and members of the general public. From “love motels” for mating insects to “Malamp,” an ongoing series of gorgeously disturbing prints that document anatomical deformities in frogs and other amphibians, his work makes extinction immediate. “Seasons in Hell,” a concise retrospective of works from 1996 to the present, features a new addition to “Malamp” (the fire salamander, which has almost disappeared from the Netherlands), ongoing projects devoted to threatened avian species, and recent works devoted to marine ecology such as the grimly ironic video Committed, which confronts BP’s post-Deepwater Horizon misinformation campaign with reality, and Prelude to the Collapse of the North Atlantic, a pyramid built from stacked jars of sea creatures packed in ethanol—each one a crumbling step in the larger oceanic food chain.
Web site www.hetdomein.nl

Brandon Ballengée, Prelude to the Collapse of the North Atlantic (detail).

Museum Ludwig, Köln: Pierre Huyghe
Through July 13, 2014
Pierre Huyghe An adventurer in the no-man’s land between fiction and reality, memory and history, Huyghe has spent 20 years challenging conventional modes of thinking and existing. His drawings, sculptures, installations, photographs, films, and performances depend on experimentation as a creative tool, a means to metabolize expected situations into magical journeys of discovery. In this 21st-century Wonderland, the principal actor is a white rabbit wandering through the film of his own imagination. The illusion is more than a mirage, however. Weaving dreams and collective mythology into the web of the ordinary changes everything: as the fantastic blends with the organic, the natural ecosystem starts to draw nourishment from the imagined, and everything becomes possible. This show brings together more than 50 works, each one a vital proposition that “can flow into contingent, biological, mineral, and physical reality.” As Huyghe says, “It’s not a matter of showing something to someone so much as showing someone to something.” In this composite space, art comes close enough to life to change it.
Web site www.museum-ludwig.de

Pierre Huyghe, Zoodram 4.

Museum Ludwig, Köln: Oscar Tuazon
Through July 13, 2014
Oscar TuazonWorking indoors and out, Tuazon constructs with wood, metal, stone, and concrete. Although his improvisatory, DIY aesthetic celebrates everyday creativity, physical labor, and ordinary effort, his sculptural interventions follow the legacy of Robert Smithson and Gordon Matta-Clark, pushing the limits of objecthood and function while giving a new twist to space, material, and the idea of work. Bulky and apparently “useless,” Tuazon’s unexpected variations on familiar architectural elements invite a wide range of imaginative experiences—just not the expected ones. “Alone in an empty room” liberates the components of domestic building from their prescribed functions, scattering them about the museum in a free-for-all of public and private space that redefines the connection between architecture and social requirements.
Web site www.museum-ludwig.de

Oscar Tuazon, Piece By Piece.

Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas: Bettina Pousttchi
Through July 13, 2014
Bettina Pousttchi For the past 15 years, Pousttchi’s work in photography, video, and sculpture has examined the constructed nature and tenuousness of memory. Recent projects, including Echo (2009–10) at the Temporare Kunst­halle in Berlin and Framework (2011) at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, entered the public realm in a dramatic way, inflating photography to an architectural scale that achieves the monumental presence normally reserved for large-scale sculpture. At the Nasher, she has transformed a gallery into a closed urban street­scape (complete with a “blacktopped” floor) that recalls the site in the 1950s, when Ross Avenue (known as “Automobile Row”) was occupied by service stations and parking lots. A photographic pattern echoing storefront scissor gates covers the glass façade of this “drive-thru museum,” obscuring views of selected works from the collection. Several of Pousttchi’s sculptures made from police barricades and street bollards—appropriated from public spaces and transformed—carry her concerns into adjacent galleries, evoking the pleasures and perils of life in the streets while questioning societal limits and celebrating the cathartic energy released by breaking them down. 
Web site www.nashersculpturecenter.org

Bettina Pousttchi, Oskar.

New Museum, New York: Roberto Cuoghi
Through June 29, 2014
Roberto Cuoghi Cuoghi lives in a world governed by hybridization and transformation, where nothing—neither form nor identity—remains stable. Past and present, fact and fiction, self and other all spin together in wild abandon until they lose every last shred of definition and fuse into new realities that, as he says, face “complex ideas iconographically.” From early projects that subjected his body to extreme metamorphic processes (including his notorious multi-year transmogrification from a 25-year- old punk into his overweight, aging father) to last year’s Belinda—a monumentally scaled sculpture of a microbial life form—his works reveal the layers of adulteration hidden within any given form or narrative. Suillakku—corral version (2008–14), the latest iteration of his ongoing investigation into crumbling empire, refines his obsession with ancient Assyria (he has spent years studying its language and rituals). This powerful sound installation reconstructs an imagined lament from the seventh century BCE, performed on a collection of instruments researched, built, and played by Cuoghi. Like his gargantuan enlargement of a tiny talisman of Pazuzu, king of demons, this ambitious work follows the principle that evil drives away evil—invoking ancient gods to ward against contemporary power deals with the devil.
Web site www.newmuseum.org

Roberto Cuoghi, Suillakku – corral version.

Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, New York: Pawel Althamer
Through August 3, 2014
Pawel Althamer A traditional sculptor of highly realistic figures as well as a radical interventionist, Althamer frequently orchestrates situations and events that place real people—including the homeless, prison inmates, illegal workers, street musicians, and children—in alternative or parallel realities where they have the power of creative input and execution. This spring, working with a team of artists and community members, he reassembled Queen Mother of Reality, his 50-foot-long, 2013 Performa commission, along Socrates’ East River waterfront. Dedicated to Queen Mother Dr. Delois Blakely, who was sworn in as Community Mayor of Harlem in 1995 by Rudolph Giuliani, this reclining figure made from reclaimed materials catalyzes creative dialogue, social collaboration, and community interaction. At its new home (surrounded by three of the largest public housing complexes in the U.S.), rising displacement and homelessness in the face of escalating housing costs (key targets of Dr. Blakely’s activism) receive particular, and timely, attention in workshops and programs.
Web site www.socratessculpturepark.org

Pawel Althamer, Queen Mother of Reality.


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