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October 2014
Vol. 33 No. 8

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.

Chatsworth, Bakewell, U.K.: Xu Bing
Through October 26, 2014
A Lost Village UtopiaXu traces his fascination with books and language to his childhood: his mother, who worked at the Peking University Library, often “locked” him in the book storeroom. After learning an invaluable lesson from the communist campaign to reform the Chinese writing system, he has spent his artistic career exploring the realization that “words are something you can play with.” Language, for him, includes all forms of signification: leftover building materials from Beijing pay homage to a dying city and culture, cigarettes reveal the dynamics of capital and labor, and in his new work, Tao Hua Yuan: A Lost Village Utopia, ceramics, natural rock formations, and exotic plants from five different regions in China evoke a mythical Eden where people live in harmony with nature. Based on a 5th-century fable, this tableau vivant does more than bring Chinese ink painting to life; its ethereal vision of balance corrects present-day misuses of the natural world, taking a first step toward a future human language in which “partnership” replaces “mastery.” ?
Web site www.chatsworth.org


Xu Bing, Tao Hua Yuan: A Lost Village Utopia.
Fondazione Cini, Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice: Heinz Mack
Through November 23, 2014
The Sky Over Nine ColumnsA pioneer of light, land, and kinetic art, Mack has been pursuing his utopian synthesis of aesthetics and science since the 1950s. After graduating from the Düsseldorf Art Academy, he teamed up with Otto Piene to establish a new artistic direction; their “Zero Hour” experiments soon formalized into a movement that attracted the interest of Jean Tin­guely, Yves Klein, Lucio Fontana, and Piero Manzoni. From ZERO to desert expeditions, to silver reliefs, prisms, cubes, and rotors, Mack’s investigations into the perception of light, space, and color are now inspiring a new generation of artists. Installed in front of San Giorgio Maggiore, The Sky Over Nine Columns uses a primal architectural element—the vertical surrogate for the human body linking earth and sky—to reflect on clarity, power, and beauty. At a height of more than seven meters, these gold-covered columns release mosaic tesserae from their spiritual confines, bringing their magical brilliance out of the darkness and into the light of the physical world.
Web site www.cini.it

Heinz Mack, The Sky Over Nine Columns.

Fondazione Prada, Venice: Art or Sound
Through November 3, 2014
“Art or SoundDespite its oppositional conjunction, “Art or Sound” seeks a territory of “free transition,” where art flows into sound and sound into art. Curator Germano Celant traces a fascinating and nuanced pedigree for contemporary sound sculpture, multimedia explorations of synaesthesia, and artist-designed, sound-producing objects. Dating from the 16th century through the present, his selections (180 in all) celebrate the symmetries and ambivalences that characterize the relationship between musical instruments and works of art. Singing clocks, carillons, auto­mata, and musical machines play an essential role in this vision of blurred categories, where object, sound, and motion continually encroach on and invert each other. Such hybrid artifacts set the stage for 20th-century experimentalism—both visual and aural—as Futurism, Dada, and Fluxus elevate vernacular noise, chance, and silence to the status of art. Automation gets picked up again in the process-oriented works of Robert Morris, Nam June Paik, and Bruce Nauman, as well as in the cathartic, bric-a-brac destruction machines of Nouveaux Réalistes Arman and Tinguely and their kindred spirit, Robert Rauschenberg. The trajectory ends with recent works by sound environment pioneer Christian Marclay and a new generation of category-defying sculptors-musicians-performers-composers, including Anri Sala, Haroon Mirza, Ruth Ewan, and Pedro Reyes.
Web site www.fondazioneprada.org


Oracle, from “Art or Sound.”
Greater Reston Arts Center, Reston, Virginia: Dalya Luttwak
Through November 1, 2014
Cannabis SativaLuttwak is known for large-scale sculptures inspired by plant roots. Exposing and magnifying what is usually hidden, her work draws atten­tion to the extensive and complex support systems that anchor and nourish the plants that we harvest, cultivate, and admire on the earth’s surface. Expertly manipulating forged, welded, and painted steel, she transforms pliable and fragile roots into sturdy, formidable objects that retain strong organic qualities. “Germination of Gold” features a selection of new work centered on Cannabis Sativa, which seeks the “golden balance” between the different elements of the Cannabis plant and their various uses, from the licit to the illicit, by tracing the plant’s only unused part—the root system. Other works include an elaborate, suspended metallic screen composed of a thick, interwoven network of tangled forms, as well as a work that challenges the confines of the gallery, growing through the walls to reach the outdoors.
Web site www.restonarts.org


Dalya Luttwak, Cannabis Sativa.
Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, U.K.: Gego
Through October 19, 2014
Gego:?Line As ObjectGego (who was born in Hamburg) occupies a special place in the history of South American Constructivist and kinetic art between the 1950s and ’80s. Her constructions—abstract drawings, prints, and wire sculptures rooted in strategies of modularity, repetition, and dispersal—create a mutable geometry that defies traditional definitions of sculpture. Following a course of linear fluctuations, these works become increasingly fragile, ephemeral, and decentered. “Line as Object” brings together approximately 120 works that clarify the recurring rhythms of Gego’s line as it unfolds into form and space, interacting with light, shadow, and gravity in a constant process of discovery.
Web site www.henry-moore.ac.uk


Installation view of “Gego:?Line As Object" .
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: Dan Graham
Through November 2, 2014
Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout
Graham has been central to the development of contemporary art since the 1960s—from the rise of Minimalism, conceptual art, and video and performance to explorations of architecture and the public sphere, to collaborations with musicians and the culture of rock and roll. Whatever form his work takes, it remains focused on the changing relationship of individual and society in a world filtered by mass media and mass production. Leaving the safe confines of high culture for the risks of the field, Graham takes on suburban sprawl, urban planning, and the homogeneity of culture. Like his anarchical and humorous photographs, films and videos, architectural models, and “structures of information,” his pavilions invite engaged participation, and at their core, attempt a physical and philosophical reconstruction of the public realm. His rooftop pavilion for the Met, designed in collaboration with the Swiss landscape architect Günther Vogt, is no exception—reflected within its mirrored glass surfaces, viewers find themselves part of a hybrid union linking the natural and the manmade.
Web site www.metmuseum.org


Dan Graham, Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout.
Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, U.K.: Stuart Brisley
Through November 16, 2014
Incidents in TransitOften referred to as the godfather of British performance art, Brisley is best known for a series of works from the 1970s and ’80s that used his body as a site, tool, and instrument to uphold individual rights and challenge authority. “State of Denmark,” his first major survey, moves beyond these iconic performances to shed light on his broader artistic practice, including early and rarely seen works, as well as recent paintings, videos, and sculptures. Despite the distinct formalism that underpins his six-decade career, Brisley has unflinchingly probed the political, cultural, and social weaknesses of our times, from the exploitation of labor to the abuses of monarchy, to social and cultural waste. “All work needs content,” he says, “without content there is no work.” Sharp-edged and consistently inventive, his singularly ironic voice is finding renewed resonance today, as we face the same issues once again. Web site Often referred to as the godfather of British performance art, Brisley is best known for a series of works from the 1970s and ’80s that used his body as a site, tool, and instrument to uphold individual rights and challenge authority. “State of Denmark,” his first major survey, moves beyond these iconic performances to shed light on his broader artistic practice, including early and rarely seen works, as well as recent paintings, videos, and sculptures. Despite the distinct formalism that underpins his six-decade career, Brisley has unflinchingly probed the political, cultural, and social weaknesses of our times, from the exploitation of labor to the abuses of monarchy, to social and cultural waste. “All work needs content,” he says, “without content there is no work.” Sharp-edged and consistently inventive, his singularly ironic voice is finding renewed resonance today, as we face the same issues once again.
Web site www.modernartoxford.org.uk


Stuart Brisley, Incidents in Transit.
Museo Marino Marini, Florence: James Lee Byars
November 8, 2014
The Head of Plato
One of the 20th century’s most unusual and elusive artists, Byars loved the imaginary and the fleeting. For him, ephemerality and immateriality were everlasting and physical. Always on the lookout for perfection, he frequently rejected any kind of materialization, preferring instead to create short-lived performances. But he also had a flair for beautiful forms—spheres, circles, gates, and columns—and “eternal” materials—sandstone, marble, glass, and gold. This exhibition finds a transcendent temporary home for one of his most hermetic works, setting up an unlikely but illuminating dialogue across time between two intellectually adventurous artists who found artistic liberation in an esoteric, highly individualized form of classicism: Byars and Leon Battista Alberti. Set within the geometric splendor of the Rucellai Chapel (in the church of San Pancrazio), The Head of Plato—realized as a perfect sphere—becomes the focal point in a system of cosmic and proportional order. Here, art transcends its status as a pale reflection of ideal forms to embody divine beauty by harmonizing physical reality and invention. Web site One of the 20th century’s most unusual and elusive artists, Byars loved the imaginary and the fleeting. For him, ephemerality and immateriality were everlasting and physical. Always on the lookout for perfection, he frequently rejected any kind of materialization, preferring instead to create short-lived performances. But he also had a flair for beautiful forms—spheres, circles, gates, and columns—and “eternal” materials—sandstone, marble, glass, and gold. This exhibition finds a transcendent temporary home for one of his most hermetic works, setting up an unlikely but illuminating dialogue across time between two intellectually adventurous artists who found artistic liberation in an esoteric, highly individualized form of classicism: Byars and Leon Battista Alberti. Set within the geometric splendor of the Rucellai Chapel (in the church of San Pancrazio), The Head of Plato—realized as a perfect sphere—becomes the focal point in a system of cosmic and proportional order. Here, art transcends its status as a pale reflection of ideal forms to embody divine beauty by harmonizing physical reality and invention.
Web site www.museomarinomarini.it


James Lee Byars, The Head of Plato as installed in Leon Battista Alberti’s Rucellai Chapel, Florence.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago: Simon Starling
Through November 2, 2014

Island For WeedsStarling, the winner of the 2005 Turner Prize, is fascinated with process—both physical and intellectual. While playfully exploring the links that connect craft, material, and technique, his work also absorbs the contexts and social nuances of a locale or object. A single piece or operation can reveal countless contradictions. Part utopian visionary and part critic, he describes his work as “the physical manifestation of a thought process.” Revealing hidden histories and relationships while transforming one object or substance into another, his sculptures, installations, and pilgrimage-like journeys draw out an array of ideas about nature, technology, and economics. “Metamorphology,” his first major museum survey in the U.S., showcases the full range of his ever-expanding interests: sculptural, photographic, film, and installation works interrogate and redirect the course of the art and design canon, scientific discoveries, and global economic and environmental concerns, while never losing sight of the magical and transformative potential of art. Starling, the winner of the 2005 Turner Prize, is fascinated with process—both physical and intellectual. While playfully exploring the links that connect craft, material, and technique, his work also absorbs the contexts and social nuances of a locale or object. A single piece or operation can reveal countless contradictions. Part utopian visionary and part critic, he describes his work as “the physical manifestation of a thought process.” Revealing hidden histories and relationships while transforming one object or substance into another, his sculptures, installations, and pilgrimage-like journeys draw out an array of ideas about nature, technology, and economics. “Metamorphology,” his first major museum survey in the U.S., showcases the full range of his ever-expanding interests: sculptural, photographic, film, and installation works interrogate and redirect the course of the art and design canon, scientific discoveries, and global economic and environmental concerns, while never losing sight of the magical and transformative potential of art. Web site www.mcachicago.org

Simon Starling, Island For Weeds (Prototype)

Museum Het Domein, Sittard, the Netherlands: The Yes Men
Through November 30, 2014
SurvivaBallTo build a better world, The Yes Men (Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno) use any means necessary. Identity Correction, as they’ve dubbed their strategy, catches powerful entities—from major corporations to government agencies—with their pants down. Yes Men associates impersonate industry spokesmen and officials, co-opt ad campaigns, launch doppelganger Web sites, and introduce spurious products. What they say in these undercover operations—issued as if from the mouth of power—gets picked up by the mainstream media and reported as truth. After a perfect storm of denials, retractions, and counter-propaganda, shame does the rest: there is no more hiding. Ignominious behavior, the lies told to cover it up, and admissions of guilt are all on the record. Though The Yes Men play on the lunatic fringe, their Dada-esque antics—and their message—reach beyond the choir. As Naomi Klein has characterized their efforts on behalf of human rights, social justice, and the environment, “This is Jonathan Swift for the Jackass generation, a combination of devastatingly intelligent critique with slapstick hilarity.” “Out-Smarting Capitalism,” the first major showing of their work in Europe, offers a concise retrospective, with videos, documentation, and objects from the last 10 years, including the currently running Yes Lab Switchboard, which brings together creative types, activists, and NGOs to foster a worldwide hotbed of grassroots action.
Web site www.hetdomein.nl


The Yes Men, with costume design by Sal Salamone, SurvivaBall.
Parco Arte Vivente, Turin: Vegetation as a Political Agent
Through November 2, 2014
Phantom LimbWith environmental consciousness positioning itself as an agent of change—and succeeding, at least in terms of generating “green bling,” as Prince Charles calls it—this is a good time to consider the political role played by plants/green space/ agriculture, both historically and in terms of today’s cultural and economic globalization. A traditional bastion of freedom and sanctuary from repressive rule (think Robin Hood), forests and greenswards meant emancipation—and for that very reason, like the commons, they had to be controlled: sold, cordoned off, and enclosed as private property, lest open access (and unsupervised use) breed disorder and insurrection. By the 17th century, land expropriation in Europe was accompanied by other, more insidious forms of control, as colonial plantations and maritime monopolies exploited both human and plant resources. “Vegetation as a Political Agent” makes the case for similar, diametrically opposed forces in today’s globalized economy of GMOs, industrial farming, and industrial pollution, advocating for a green revolution in more than name and buying habits. Works by 13 international artists-activists (including PAV founder Piero Gilardi, Critical Art Ensemble, Adelita Husni-Bey, Bonnie Ora Sherk, Marjetica Potrc, and RozO) anchor a provocative and insightful exhibition that includes a collaboration with the Botanical Garden of Turin, as well as workshops and collective projects in the garden and beyond.
Web site www.parcoartevivente.it

Diana Al-Hadid, Phantom Limb
Storm King, Mountainville, New York: Zhang Huan
Through November 9, 2014
Head From Buddha FootZhang Huan began his career with controversial performances that tested his physical endurance and pushed the limits of acceptability in post-Tiananmen China. After moving to New York in 1998, he staged photographs as performances and enacted large-scale events, often involving scores of volunteers. In 2006, his work took another turn when he established a studio in a former Shanghai garment factory and began to produce monumental sculptures. These suggestive and forceful works, made from bronze, incense ash, and found materials from the Chinese countryside, reflect on the historical legacy of Buddhism and its place in the modern world. “Evoking Tradition,” which features a half-dozen large-scale outdoor works accompanied by preparatory drawings and videos, focuses on his interest in traditional Chinese culture, from Buddhist practice to rural village life. Far from nostalgic, these challenging works—including a restored Qing Dynasty gateway for farmers and personal interpretations of religious ritual—mask their critique, bringing the past into the present as a means of understanding the contemporary condition.
Web site www.stormkingartcenter.org

Zhang Huan, Head From Buddha Foot.

Versailles, Paris: Lee Ufan
Through November 2, 2014
L’Arche de Versailles In the late 1960s, Lee emerged as the theoretical leader of Mono-ha (or School of Things), a Japanese movement that focused on system, structure, and process amid general chaos and disorder. His sculptures—dispersed arrangements of stones combined with industrial steel plates, rubber sheets, and glass panes—recast the object as a network of relations based on parity among the viewer, materials, and site, with the artist serving as mediator. Deeply versed in Asian metaphysics and modern philosophy, particularly phenomenology, he has coupled his artistic practice with a prodigious body of critical writing that attempts to re-position our understanding and experience of the objects, beings, and materials around us. Like his sculptures, these ideas encourage us to encounter bare existence “as it is,” and not as we conventionally assume it to be—a goal that should open brand new perspectives on Le Notre’s idealized landscape at Versailles.
Web site http://en.chateauversailles.fr

Lee Ufan, Relatum—L’Arche de Versailles.

Vienna Secession, Vienna: Diana Al-Hadid
Through November 2, 2014
L’Arche de VersaillesIn the late 1960s, Lee emerged as the theoretical leader of Mono-ha (or School of Things), a Japanese movement that focused on system, structure, and process amid general chaos and disorder. His sculptures—dispersed arrangements of stones combined with industrial steel plates, rubber sheets, and glass panes—recast the object as a network of relations based on parity among the viewer, materials, and site, with the artist serving as mediator. Deeply versed in Asian metaphysics and modern philosophy, particularly phenomenology, he has coupled his artistic practice with a prodigious body of critical writing that attempts to re-position our understanding and experience of the objects, beings, and materials around us. Like his sculptures, these ideas encourage us to encounter bare existence “as it is,” and not as we conventionally assume it to be—a goal that should open brand new perspectives on Le Notre’s idealized landscape at Versailles.
Web site http://en.chateauversailles.fr

Lee Ufan, Relatum—L’Arche de Versailles.

Wanås, Knislinge, Sweden: Dance Me
Through November 2, 2014
Dance Me Featuring jump ropes, tree-top platforms, and participatory performances, “Dance Me” pushes the kinetic potential of sculpture to its logical end in movement, not only its own, but also that of the viewer. Such a meeting of sculpture and choreography makes direct connections between life and art, affecting both body and mind and leading to some broader questions: What directs our movements and activities? How is everyday life choreographed? From Tadashi Kawamata’s treehouses to Molly Haslund’s reimagined swings and enlarged compasses, these works elicit play and interaction—themes reinforced in film installations by Christian Jankowski, Sigalit Landau, and Salla Tykka. Rhythm and repetition come to the fore in dancer/choreographer Rachel Tess’s Souvenir, a mobile architectural structure that allows participants to investigate the empathic response of bodies moving in a confined space.
Web site www.wanas.se

Molly Haslund, Circles, from Dance Me.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield, U.K.: Ai Weiwei
Through November 2, 2014
Iron Tree 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 other activist efforts that put him on a collision course with China’s ruling regime. His intimate installation in YSP’s newly restored Enlightenment-era chapel continues the emphatic statement of his recent international exhibitions, focusing on ideas of freedom and the place of the individual within society. Beginning with a basic postulate, “Liberty is about our right to question everything,” these works point to its logical consequence in the face of denial, “You have to act.” Colliding past and present, East and West, in abstract association, Iron Tree, a liberty tree pieced together from fragments of different species; a new presentation of Fairytale-1001 Chairs in which collective order arises from solitary individuality; and Ruyi, a traditional symbol of authority and the right to speak, demonstrate a new hopefulness that change will come out of defiance. The installation will be accompanied by readings from the works of Ai’s father, the exile poet Ai Qing.
Web site www.ysp.co.uk
Ai Weiwei, Iron Tree.


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