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April 2016
Vol. 35 No. 2

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.

Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami: John Miller
Through May 15, 2016
John Miller Glad Hand With a mixture of empathy, insight, and humor, Miller hurls himself into the tumult of everyday life. His complex sculptures, installations, and two-dimensional works, which can be critical in intent and poetic or deadpan grotesque in appearance, distill commonplaces in order to tease out images of “normality.” Fusing the ironic strategies of Fluxus with the sharp observation of American social realism (siphoned through punk anger), he begins with linguistic and psychoanalytical theories, then latches on to the viewer’s cultural and visual vocabulary in order to trigger a stream of unexpected associations. “I Stand, I Fall,” Miller’s first U.S. museum survey, brings together 75 works—including new large-scale sculptures and an ambitious labyrinthine installation—that trace his use of the figure and anthropomorphized objects as tools to raise pointed questions about the realities of economic class and social hierarchies.

Web site www.icamiami.org

John Miller, Glad Hand.
Malmö Konsthall, Malmö, Sweden: Heimo Zobernig
Through May 1, 2016
Heimo Zobernig Untitled Over the past 25 years, Zobernig has created a considerable body of work, from sculpture, video, and painting to installation, architectural intervention, and performance. Drawing on various modern art movements, he questions their underlying principles and conditions, challenging and reinterpreting them with a lightness of touch and an economy of material. This large-scale exhibition features a number of recent works that recycle old pieces into new sculptures in which space becomes an essential element. Reconfigured walls from the museum’s previous show of Joan Jonas remain in place as mysterious empty monuments, while curtains and screens establish a deceptive intimacy, pitting permanence against obsolescence. In this setting, the staging of art becomes a driving force, allowing Zobernig to “circumvent conventions.” Playful, unsettling, and disarming, his various endeavors all aspire to the same goal: “With art, I would like to raise questions and as a result produce things that put themselves in question.”

Web site www.konsthall.malmo.se

Heimo Zobernig, Untitled.

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth: Glenn Kaino
Through April 17, 2016
Glenn Kaino Tank Kaino’s work rejects any idea of a standard model. For him, contemporary art is a flexible, evolving system whose potential reach can be widened through incursions into other fields and ways of knowing. Though he’s often called a conceptualist, form and materials play an essential, if unstable, role in his sculptures and installations. Malleable, just like meaning, they shift under the influence of time, perception, and viewpoint, engaging in a fascinating and unpredictable play that betrays Kaino’s deep understanding of magic. In his best works, sleight-of-hand illusion becomes more than a parlor trick, striking uncanny chords that reverberate through what we think of as reality. By day, coral thriving on plastic replicas of tanks offer a vision of hope—for humanity and the planet—but every night, the peace gives way to a pitched battle over territorial rights. A snake-like bridge turns out to be made from a single arm belonging to gold medal winner Tommie Smith, who raised the iconic Black Power gesture of civil and human rights solidarity at the 1968 Olympics—the meandering repetition mirrors that meaning while tracing the path of revision, dissolution, and reconfiguration traveled by a discrete image and moment unfurling through time. This show features a new body of work addressing time and space colonization, including pin drawings, an interactive animatronic installation, and a frozen sculptural portrait of the moon.

Web site www.themodern.org

Glenn Kaino, Tank.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago: Kathryn Andrews
Through May 8, 2016
Kathryn Andrews Coming to America Andrews finds inspiration in L.A.’s jumble of cultures, values, and styles. Her exactingly finished sculptures, which navigate the histories of Pop, Minimalism, Light and Space, and the readymade, create what she calls “unhappy marriages”—carefully orchestrated juxtapositions of mismatched materials and incompatible concepts. Exquisite chrome-plated objects (everything from steel bars and tubing to security windows and cages) partner with cheap store-bought commodities and rented movie props in contradictory visual scenarios that poke fun at estimations of worth. Just where art falls in this system of valuation remains unclear, its status dependent on presentation and the company it keeps, though the frequent appearance of mocking clown costumes offers a clue.

Web site www.mcachicago.org

Kathryn Andrews, Coming to America.
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney: Grayson Perry
Through May 1, 2016
Grayson Perry Prehistoric Gold Pubic Alan Dogu Perry fuses art and craft into a multi-layered and complicated montage of high and low, serious and humorous, conventional and seditious. A true maker who will not condemn fabrication, beneficiary and decrier of the star system that has plagued artists since the day of the first signature, the Turner Prize-winning transvestite potter embodies contradictions, and yet he comes across as never 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 to fuel astute social critique. “My Pretty Little Art Career,” his first retrospective in the Southern Hemisphere, underscores his sly wit, as well as his immersion in a craft tradition whose anonymous artists have “fashioned the manmade wonders of the world.” Though he has always recognized the resonance of historical artifacts, his time in Australia has opened his eyes to the fact that such traditions aren’t necessarily dead and buried in the museum vault; in fact, they might remain vital—living, breathing expressions as materially seductive and sharply observant as his own. He’ll never ask again if Australian Aboriginal art should be included in contemporary art shows.

Web site www.mca.com.au


Prehistoric Gold Pubic Alan Dogu, Grayson Perry.
Museum of Modern Art, New York: Marcel Broodthaers
Through May 15, 2016
Marcel Broodthaers Pense-Bete Broodthaers (1924–76) was a poet, journalist, and photographer when he decided at the age of 40 to become an artist. The invitation to his first exhibition (1964) announced: “I, too, asked myself whether I could sell something and be successful in life…in the end I had the idea to invent something dishonest.” Presenting his work in a radically subversive way, Brood­thaers offered pleasure with obstacles. The central object of the exhibition consisted of a “recycling sculpture”: 50 plastered-over copies of his unsold book of poetry. Beginning with this conflation of text and sculpture, he followed a path toward what he called politique magique, which attempted to grasp reality through fiction—the best-known example is his Musée d’Art Moderne, a non-existent enterprise with himself as director (made in response to a protracted battle at Brussels’s Royal Museums over where to put modern art). This retrospective, the artist’s first in New York, brings together more than 200 works that seem prescient in their exploration of brand, trade value, original and copy, travel, colonization, and the exotic within the global marketplace.  

Web site www.moma.org


Marcel Broodthaers, Pense-Bete.
Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas: Ann Veronica Janssens
Through April 17, 2016
Ann Veronica Janssens IPE 250 Janssens, who is known primarily as a light artist, investigates “situations of dazzlement…the persistence of vision, vertigo, saturation, speed, and exhaustion.” Viewers who enter her spaces become subjects in a quasi-experimental framework designed to test how the body responds to certain scientific phenomena and conditions. Using existing architecture in tandem with specially created environments and sculptural objects to manipulate her lighting effects and trigger specific sensations, she can test the science of the eye against the experience of the body. This show, her first U.S. museum exhibition, features sculptures and installations that allow viewers to encounter shifts in surface, depth, and color, challenging perception while destabilizing sight and space.

Web site www.nashersculpturecenter.org

Ann Veronica Janssens, IPE 250.
Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC: Wonder
Through May 8, 2016
John Grade Middle Fork Stars twinkling in the night sky, a rainbow, uncanny tropical insects, sunset hues glowing through clouds, branching water systems, weather-worn rock formations, a fallen giant of a tree—there is no end to the wonders on view at the Renwick. After a two-year renovation, this venerable institution (the first purpose-built art museum in the U.S.) reopened last year with an exhibition that has sent audiences into a frenzy. The nine installations that make up “Wonder” are intended to inspire amazement, awe, and marvel—and they do, though not for the reasons that curators might have expected. Jennifer Angus, Chakaia Booker, Gabriel Dawe, Tara Donovan, Patrick Dougherty, Janet Echelman, John Grade, Maya Lin, and Leo Villareal certainly use labor-intensive, craft-based processes to transform easily overlooked, commonplace materials (everything from index cards and thread to rubber tires) into eye-popping new configurations, but such material genius isn’t enough to provoke an Instagram furor and shatter attendance records. No, the root of the sensation resides in the “startle reflex.” For most of human existence, “wonder” has been experienced in the face of the natural world: here, viewers are captivated and astonished by what amounts to special effects mimicry. The interpretations are genuinely impressive, but there are other outlets for the thrills of 21st-century trompe l’oeil (only Dougherty and Booker avoid the temptation to create simulacra). That said, if just one of these installations moves a visitor to approach the world with fresh eyes (like an artist) then something has been achieved. The sad reality is that the virtual has become more awe-inspiring than the real (witness the crowds basking beneath Echelman’s netting), and art is going the way of nature—becoming little more than a spectacular backdrop for the real object of our wonder—ourselves (likely seen through the eye of a camera phone).

Web site www.americanart.si.edu

John Grade, Middle Fork.
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, Arizona: Betye Saar
Through May 1, 2016
Betye Saar Still Ticking Saar is widely regarded as a seminal figure in the redefinition of African American identity through art. Multi-layered commentaries on family, spir­ituality, and race, her found-object and mixed-media assemblages allude to a rich variety of references and subjects, infusing historical stereotypes with contemporary meanings. Artistic traditions from the Americas, Africa, and beyond inform these paradoxical responses to the black and white delineations of political and social forces, holding their contradictions in a powerful visual tension. Though politically trenchant, her works move beyond protest to search for spirituality and commonality across cultural lines and across time. This retrospective brings together works spanning a six-decade-long career, including recent sculptures and newly reconceived installations. “Still Tickin,’” as the show’s title puts it, Saar is still trying to illuminate the obscured and the forgotten, still questioning the present while reclaiming, and perhaps redeeming, the past.

Web site www.smoca.org

Betye Saar, Still Ticking.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York: Peter Fischli & David Weiss
Through April 20, 2016
Peter Fischli and David Weiss Suddenly this Overview For more than three decades, Peter Fischli and David Weiss (who died in 2012) indulged in a unique brand of conceptualism, creating a wide variety of idiosyncratic projects across sculpture, photography, film, video, and installation. A child-like sense of discovery pervades their artistic ventures, which revel in unlikely transformations of materials and repurposings of readymades. Over the course of their partnership, Fischli & Weiss broke almost every convention in their efforts to explore order and chaos, work and leisure, the everyday and the sublime. This retrospective features early sculptural projects (including Suddenly this Overview, which chronicles the history of the world through hundreds of hand-modeled, unfired clay objects) and iconic films (including the slapstick Rube Goldbergian classic The Way Things Go), as well as photographic projects documenting ephemeral sculptures and more recent poly­urethane sculptures. And if these extended meditations on the banality of life aren’t enough, Public Art Fund has installed How to Work Better in Lower Manhattan, at Houston and Mott Streets (on view through May 1). The six-story mural reproduces a 10-step motivational mantra for the workplace that the artists found in a Thai factory, though they never quite mastered number five: “Distinguish sense from nonsense.”

Web site www.guggenheim.org


Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Suddenly this Overview.
Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran: Wim Delvoye
Through May 13, 2016
Wim Delvoye Rimowa Classic Flight Multiwheel In Delvoye’s work, opposites attract: the divine merges with the secular, past meets present, ornament overcomes function, and high, of course, encounters low. For the past three years, he has spent a lot of time in Iran, whose allure he compares to that of India in the 1980s; he has even restored a former palace and school in Kashan. This show is the result of his love for a country whose demonization only exacerbates domestic challenges, its contemporary art scene (there are more than 50 galleries showing work in Tehran, much of it by women artists), and its rich craft tradition. Something of a retrospective, the exhibition focuses on his subversive and ironic reinterpretations of historical styles, from hand-painted Delftware shovels and gas canisters to elaborately patterned, faux inlaid floors composed of photographed salami and ham, to Gothicized Caterpillar excavators, dump trucks, and cement mixers perforated with tracery. A new body of metal works made in collaboration with artisans in Isfahan extends the reach of Delvoye’s art historical appropriation and subtly alters its intent—as Islamic ornament infuses the body of a Maserati, this most indecorous artist finds himself donning the garb of a cultural ambassador.

Web site www.tmoca.com

Wim Delvoye, Rimowa Classic Flight Multiwheel.
Temple Contemporary, Philadelphia: Pepón Osorio
Through May 20, 2016
Pepon Osorio reForm Since 2013, Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission has closed 24 schools in the city. Osorio’s reForm, a large-scale, participatory installation, represents just one part of a two-year project that blends public art, performance, and advocacy to address the effects of a school closing on one particular North Philadelphia community. Osorio focuses on Fairhill Elementary School, in a neighborhood close to Temple University. Together with students and parents, he removed items from the classrooms and relocated them to a studio at the Tyler School of Art, which has now been transformed into a participatory, changing installation and activist headquarters. These relics of a former center of learning provide a stable landscape of memory, even as the space evolves daily, with residents holding community planning meetings, workshops, and public programs (all organized by project participants, not the artist). For Osorio, this sense of agency is as important as the installation itself: “I am hoping that this project…counters the feelings that I’ve heard so many North Philadelphians describe—feeling invisible in the bureaucratic decision-making” that affects their lives.

Web sites www.templecontemporary.info and www.reForm-project.org


Pepon Osorio, reForm.

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