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July/August 2015
Vol. 34 No. 6

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.

deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts: Oscar Tuazon
Through September 1, 2015
Oscar Tuazon, Partners. Partners, Tuazon’s new project for deCordova, puts his improvisatory, DIY aesthetic to work in the outdoors. Inspired by the park’s varied tree species, his sculptural intervention—combining natural and industrial components—pushes the limits of objecthood and function. The unexpected pairing of sugar maple and concrete pillar introduces an interdependency where once there was none. Though both tree and structure are self-supporting, they conjoin in a delicate, completely unnecessary balancing act as branch meets horizontal buttress two stories above the ground. Partners draws its imaginative strength from this point of impasse, merging nature/culture, utility/uselessness, and architectonic stability/conceptual failure into a single experiential metaphor.

Web site www.decordova.org


Oscar Tuazon, Partners.
deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, Massachusetts: Walking Sculpture 1967–2015
Through September 13, 2015
Tyler Coburn, Medium No. 1 (Manhattan), from Walking Sculpture Inspired by Michelangelo Pistoletto’s 1967 performance Walking Sculpture, in which he rolled a sphere of newspaper through the streets of Turin, this exhibition featuring sculpture, video, photography, and performance explores ambulation as cartography, autonomous art form, physical experience, and means of questioning social, economic, and cultural hierarchies. Following in Pistoletto’s footsteps, Francis Alÿs, Hannah Barco, Stanley Brouwn, André Cadere, Tyler Coburn, Kate Colby and Todd Shalom, Catherine D’Ignazio, Simon Faithfull, Shilpa Gupta, Sharon Hayes, Wendy Jacob, Joachim Koester, Melanie Manchot, Helen Mirra, Bruce Nauman, Paulo Nazareth, and William Pope.L transform this most ordinary of activities into an act with political dimensions, one that defies established forms of art-making, as well as behavioral norms.

Web site www.decordova.org

Tyler Coburn, Medium No. 1 (Manhattan), from "Walking Sculpture".

Doris C. Freedman Plaza, New York: Tatiana Trouvé
Through August 30, 2015
Tatiana Trouve, Desire Lines Trouvé’s installations embody psychic space—spaces of waiting and reminiscence, of imminence and slow transformation, each one envisioning the form and workings of memory. Although constructed in three dimensions and placed so viewers can move around them, the objects that occupy these spaces are always drawn: not so much represented as projected. For Trouvé, to “install” is to hide something, whereas to “draw” is to clarify and open possibilities. Desire Lines, her first public sculpture in the U.S., takes both approaches. A physical inventory of 212 routes through Central Park, which Trouvé mapped and measured, the work encodes its detailed information into lengths of colored cords, each one wound onto an industrial wooden spool and numbered to identify its location. Though the sculptural environment conceals, another component—the “atlas”—reveals. Visitors can select a path (the atlas names each route for its connection to an important historical event) and embark on a journey that spreads out through time and space. In this systematic exploration of place, the act of walking becomes a means to trace the march of history in collective and individual memory and to discover the political and poetic potential of action.

Web site www.publicartfund.org

Tatiana Trouvé, Desire Lines.
Haus der Kunst, Munich: Louise Bourgeois
Through August 2, 2015
Over the course of a prolific career, Bourgeois worked in dialogue with most of the 20th century’s major avant-garde movements, but she consistently stood apart from trends and frequently at the forefront of contemporary practice. Her powerfully inventive sculptures run the stylistic gamut—engaging abstraction, realism, and the readymade—and explore almost every possible material. These different inflections, however, always remain at the service of an unswerving set of themes, pulled forth from the depths of human experience. This exhibition (the first of its kind) brings together 30 of her innovative “Cells,” a series of more than 60 architectural spaces that occupy a place somewhere between installation, diorama, sculpture, and theatrical staging. Created over a span of 20 years, beginning after Bourgeois acquired her first large studio at the age of 80, these enclosures filled with found objects, clothes, furniture, and sculpted inhabitants separate the internal from the external world, organizing the personal into a web of stories about the paradoxes of the human condition while defining a self through space—what Bourgeois called “a metaphor for the structure of our existence.”

Web site www.hausderkunst.de

Louise Bourgeois, CELL XXVI (detail).
Hayward Gallery, London: Carsten Höller
Through September 6, 2015
Carsten Holler, Half Mirror Room Höller considers his work as a series of experiments and viewers as his subjects, upending assumptions about perception, sensory experience, balance, and time. Ranging from the purely conceptual to the elaborately architectural, his installations challenge human behavior, question logic, and offer altered states of mind and body. Not content to let viewers look on from the sidelines, he invites active physical participation in his constructions, which include slides, spatial inversions, flying machines, and confounding passages. “Decision,” perhaps his most ambitious exhibition to date, turns the soon-to-be-renovated Hayward Gallery into an immersive laboratory/funhouse. Works from the last 20 years—and several new commissions, including Moving Beds—plunge visitors into considerations of safety, childhood, love, happiness, and the future as they negotiate unfamiliar terrain and face a final, dramatic choice: as Höller describes it, the decision of how to exit is “somewhere between delight and madness.”

Web site www.southbankcentre.co.uk


Carsten Höller, Half Mirror Room.
Kunsthalle Basel, Basel: Vincent Fecteau
Through August 23, 2015
Vincent Fecteau, Untitled Over the last two decades, Fecteau has forged a singular aesthetic, mixing homespun materials (popsicle sticks, champagne corks, and string), meticulous craftsmanship, and a curious formal grammar. By turns wonky, erotic, extraterrestrial, and baroque—and sometimes all of these at once—his sculptures are built from small, slow accumulations in which layering, texture, and the work of the hand are all visible. “You Have Did the Right Thing When You Put That Skylight In,” the San Francisco–based artist’s largest exhibition to date and his first solo show in Switzerland, features sculptures from 2000 to the present, in addition to a new body of work. Consisting of images culled from magazines and other readymade elements (shoeboxes, jewelry boxes, and wicker baskets, all painted matte black), these wall sculptures signal a return to his origins in collage and a significant new direction.  

Web site www.kunsthallebasel.ch


Vincent Fecteau, Untitled.
Kunsthalle Mainz, Mainz, Germany: Lois Weinberger
Through September 6, 2015
Lois Weinberger, Das uber Pflanzen ist eins mit ihnen. Despite considerable success (including participation at documenta X and the 2009 Venice Biennale), Weinberger refuses to play by the rules of the art economy. Rejecting conventional objects and images, he creates spaces that can develop on their own and documents real-world situations that raise fundamental political and ethical questions. An advocate of the raw over the cooked, he has a particular affection for volunteer plants—the wild “weeds” that thrive in disturbed and abandoned plots of land. For him, such uncontrolled outbreaks of nature teach a crucial lesson about civilization. Rupturing the apparent seamlessless of the manmade world, such infiltrators explode the usual dichotomies between nature and culture, order and chaos. Weinberger’s interventions follow the same strategy, striving to give space to wildness and unbridled growth. He builds empty steel cages to lock out humanity (Wild Cubes), strips away areas of asphalt and reclaims them as green space, and sows seeds along railroad tracks. The antithesis of a manicured garden, with its immaculate, rigorously pruned plantings, these improvised oases spring forth from chance, their behavior random and opportunistic—just like that of humans.

Web site www.kunsthalle-mainz.de

Lois Weinberger, Das Über Pƒlanzen ist eins mit ihnen
Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, Germany: Erwin Wurm
Through September 13, 2015
Erwin Wurm, installation view of Fichte.  Every time Wurm produces a sculpture from a real object—cars, potatoes, cucumbers, pieces of clothing—he creates something strange and wonderful. Embracing the absurd, his work invites us to consider different possibilities for the ordinary and familiar. Experiments in performance, photography, installation, drawing, video, and text add another dimension, pushing the boundaries of sculpture (particularly in the “one-minute sculpture” performances) by investigating elements of time, mass, and material form. At first glance, his new installation, Fichte, seems to depart from his radical stance, but this reimagined pine forest represents native habitat for an artist devoted to rule-breaking and personal freedom. Tapping into a long tradition of the woods as a place of escape, Wurm extends an invitation to take refuge in a place where anything becomes possible and the pervasive weirdness lurking just beneath the surface of conventionality can come out in the open.

Web site www.kunstmuseum-wolfsburg.de

Erwin Wurm, installation view of "Fichte."
Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland: Kader Attia
Through August 30, 2015
Kader Attia, Asesinos! Asesinos!. Exploring questions of community, diversity, exile, and the tangled threads of identity in a globalized world, Attia’s installations frequently plunge the viewer into confrontational environments characterized by inundating repetition and grating movements. Visitors to Infinities (2006), for instance, found themselves surrounded by giant drill bits, each slowly revolving in an illusion of constant downward pressure; as if this scenario weren’t uncomfortable enough, mirrors lining the room reflected an endless expanse of mechanized torture. “Injuries Are Here,” his first retrospective, traces the development of his nuanced approach to the clash of cultures—an understanding shaped by his experience of growing up in France and Algeria, as well as later years spent in Venezuela and the Congo. The trajectory reveals a growing preoccupation with the idea of “repair,” both as healing and as reparation. Recent works such as Gueules Cassées—a group of wood sculptures inspired by photographs of disfigured French colonial soldiers from the Great War, created in collaboration with traditional craftsmen in Bamako (Maki) and Brazza­ville (Congo)—turn the installation space into a thinking memorial, a place for teasing out the buried or forgotten bonds that explain seemingly unconnected political, personal, and aesthetic histories, as well as their repercussions.

Web site www.musees.vd.ch

Kader Attia, Asesinos! Asesinos!.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo, Norway: Carlos Garaicoa
Through August 23, 2015
Carlos Garaicoa, Entr'acte (après René Clair). Garaicoa’s multi-disciplinary work arises from his “need to experience that contradiction between the city’s beauty and its terrible realities.” Charged with provocative commentary on the inflated ambitions of architectural social engineering, his synthesis of urbanism, narrative, history, and politics exposes the decay of 20th-century utopias and the failure of Modernism as a catalyst for social change. Inspired as much by the imaginary cities of Calvino and Borges as the real situation of his native Havana, his recent works investigate the city as a place of life and death, old ruins and new visions, a densely layered sediment of power struggles. “The Politics and Poetics of Space” arrives in Oslo at a time of rapid transformation, as new cultural centers and apartment complexes are rising across Norway. Raising a barricade of skepticism against the tide of runaway development, these works pose essential questions— in particular, for whom are these new buildings and spaces intended, and who benefits?

Web site www.nasjonalmuseet.no

Carlos Garaicoa, Entr'acte (après René Clair).
Museum of Modern Art, New York: Yoko Ono
Through September 7, 2015
Yoko Ono, Painting to be Stepped On. Ono staged her first “one woman show” at MoMA in 1971. But when visitors arrived to see “Museum of Modern [F]art,” they found no evidence of her work beyond a sign outside the entrance explaining that she had released flies on the grounds; the public was invited to track them as they dispersed through the city. Now, more than 40 years later, this pioneer of conceptual art returns in an official capacity with a survey of the decisive decade leading up to her unauthorized exhibition. “One Woman Show, 1960–1971” brings together 125 early objects, works on paper, installations, performances, audio recordings, films, and rarely seen archival materials. From the beginning of her career, Ono has thought the unthinkable and proceeded to do it—whether asking people to step on a painting or follow a set of ridiculous instructions. Alternately poetic, humorous, sinister, and idealistic, these early works (dating from the time of her association with Rauschenberg, Johns, George Maciunas, and John Cage) paved the way for her cosmic, poetic, and political understanding of human culture—a boundary-defying approach to the creative process, guided by an unfailing faith in the possibility of hope, understanding, and peace.

Web site www.moma.org


Yoko Ono, Painting to Be Stepped On.
Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas: Phyllida Barlow
Through August 30, 2015
Phyllida Barlow, Installation View of GIG. Barlow makes large-scale sculptures from rubber, tarpaulin, bitumen, concrete, aluminum foil, rags, paint, wooden pallets, and plaster. Such materials—often sourced directly from city streets—offer an important advantage: their contingency bypasses the gravitas and status of stone and metal, parodying traditional aims of heroic monumentality. Assembled quickly and intuitively, her sculptures become distant memories of objects that reject faithful reconstruction in order to transform architectural space. Her multi-part installation at the Nasher features a new ensemble of works that “elbow their way” into Renzo Piano’s built environment, playfully deconstructing architectural order and restoring the joyfulness, absurdity, and transience of life. Like most of her previous sculptures, these, too, will be dismantled and their materials recycled after this fleeting encounter.

Web site www.nashersculpturecenter.org

Phyllida Barlow, installation view of "GIG."

Nathan Cummings Foundation, New York: Bring in the Reality
Through September 11, 2015
Guerra de ka Paz,Monday through Friday, from Bring in the Reality. From Classical Athens to contemporary America, parrhesia (the right to speak candidly, freely, and boldly) has been more ideal than reality, as attested by the fates of dissenters from Socrates to Edward Snowden. An antidote to the sly persuasion of rhetoric, with its glosses, distortions, and manipulations, parrhesia speaks truth to power—even when no one wants to hear it. The works in this show rise to that challenge, conjuring not only the burden of history, but also of our present moment. The title comes from Cornel West’s Black Prophetic Fire (2014) in which he investigates the resonance of blues, jazz, hip-hop, and the writings of Malcolm X within this distinctly democratic tradition: “It was always ‘bring in the funk, bring in the truth, bring in the reality.’” In the face of enduring inequality, homelessness, classism and racism, and police brutality, participating artists—including John Ahearn, Radcliffe Bailey, Mel Chin, Jennifer Dalton, Scherezade Garcia-Vazquez, Guerra de la Paz, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Dread Scott, and Nari Ward—stand up to speak for the common good, often reflecting on the personal risk involved in the construction of counter-narratives. Realized in a variety of media, both conventional and not, these works highlight a commitment to social change through the ongoing relationship between art and politics. “Bring in the Reality,” sponsored by No Longer Empty, is open to the public by appointment; to visit, contact exhibit@nathancummings.org.

Web site nolongerempty.org

Guerra de la Paz, Monday though Friday, from “Bring in the Reality.”

SKMU Sørlandets Kunstmuseum, Kristiansand, Norway: Tomás Saraceno
Through August 23, 2015
Tomás Saraceno, 14 Billions (Working Title) Saraceno confronts fatalistic views of the future with invention and imagination, “looking to the sky to escape the reality of the earth.” Merging sculpture, architecture, and engineering to explore the possibility of a better world, he creates structural and theoretical proposals for sustainable systems of travel and habitation (from cloud clusters to flying gardens and space elevators). The whiff of utopianism in his approach is more than offset by the buoyant exuberance sustaining his clusters of spheres, explosions of lines, and geometric constellations. Two years in the making, 14 Billions (Working Title) continues along the path of his 2009 Venice Biennale synthesis of galaxy and spider web formation. More than a funhouse fright, this oversized, interactive homage to a Black Widow web (8,000 strings connected by more than 23,000 individually tied knots) draws on the combined knowledge of arach­­­nologists, astrophysicists, arch­itects, and engineers to create a model environment that conjoins the immediate and the distant, the minute and the vast.

Web site skmu.no

Tomás Saraceno, 14 Billions (Working Title).

Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, New York: Gabriela Albergaria, Agnes Denes, Heide Fasnacht
Through August 30, 2015
Agnes Denes, The Living Pyramid (rendering). This summer, Socrates is hosting three new commissions—major large-scale works that draw together nature, culture, science, belief, the real, and the artificial. Denes’s The Living Pyramid, her first work in New York City since 1982’s iconic Wheatfield—A Confrontation, continues her seemingly impossible synthesis of the visionary and the intellectual. Created from several tons of soil, the 30-foot-high, tiered earthwork serves as a terraced planting bed, seeded with grasses and wildflowers that will continue to grow through the duration of the show. Fasnacht—always fascinated by shifting states of matter—turns to the creation and formation of sinkholes in Suspect Terrain (the title references John McPhee’s narrative of the earth as seen through the lens of plate tectonics). In Fasnacht’s treatment, upheaval and fragmentation, spanning 30 feet above ground, are detailed in painted plywood, which stands in for cement, asphalt, and rock substrate; a house lies half-submerged at the bottom of the pit. Inspired by the global spread of massive sinkholes in recent years, Suspect Terrain reflects on the “instability we now all live with.” Albergaria’s Two Trees in Balance marks the “moment where human and natural terrains intersect.” Separated and supported by a 10-foot concrete wall, these trees may look real, but they are really meticulous reconstructions, Frankentrees assembled from dozens of branches and stumps salvaged across the city. Hovering precariously between wall and earth, they imply both growth and decay—as well as the effort required to maintain that balance.

Web site www.socratessculpturepark.org

Agnes Denes, The Living Pyramid (rendering).

Turner Contemporary, Margate, U.K.: Grayson Perry
Through September 13, 2015
Grayson Perry, Early English Motorcycle Helmet. Perry fuses art and craft into a dense and highly personal montage of high and low, serious and humorous, conventional and seditious. A true maker who does not condemn fabrication, he is both beneficiary and decrier of the star system that has plagued artists since the day of the first signature. Though the Turner Prize-winning transvestite potter embodies contradiction, he rarely comes across as less than genuine, perhaps because he lives and works within a world of his own imagining, where sexual fantasy, religion and ritual, teddy bears, and decoration come together in a grand comedy of astute social critique. “Provincial Punk,” which traces Perry’s development from 1981 through the present with more than 50 works, captures the singular charm behind his particular brand of subversion. As he describes himself during the Thatcher years (thereby explaining the oxymoronic exhibition title), “I was there in my bedroom with an old school shirt stenciling the word ‘hate’ onto it, looking out onto the lush turf of the north Essex countryside.” Admittance to the inner circle of London’s cutting edge produced little change in his outlook, as he continued to “mak[e] pottery…with a Shetland woolly jumper view of the world.” Confident creation and self-creation inform his work to this day, as he tempers sharp observations about everything from class, taste, consumerism, and violence to the never-ending debate over art versus craft with a wry teasing, all the while indulging in the technical seductions of ceramics, embroidery, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and film.

Web site www.turnercontemporary.org

Grayson Perry, Early English Motorcycle Helmet.

UGM / Maribor Art Gallery, Maribor, Slovenia: Heroes We Love: Socialist Realism Revised
Through August 23, 2015
Igor Grubic, Scarves & monuments. Using the relatively unknown period of Socialist Realism in the former Yugoslavia as a case study, this first installment of a larger international project devoted to communist-era art in the ex-Soviet bloc explores a time when the state was the sole consumer and commissioner of artworks. Doctrinal, anti-avant-garde servants working exclusively for the Party, countless heroic sculptures, propagandizing murals, and commemorative canvases landed in the dustbin of history after its demise. Yet many linger on, hidden, forgotten, or simply unseen, ignored by the canon of art history. “Heroes We Love” initiates a serious study of Socialist Realist iconography, seeking to understand the depths of revolutionary romanticism, its sources, and how it imploded. Five representative monuments encapsulating the key values of resistance, suffering, victory, building, and the cult of personality introduce the formation of a cohesive visual language, while a group of interventions by contemporary artists widens the scope to explore the broader question of monuments, their continuing relevance, and new forms of structuring memory.

Web site www.ugi.si

Igor Grubic, Scarves & Monuments, from " Heroes We Love."


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