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Sculpture cover

May 2016
Vol. 35 No. 4

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.

Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Colorado: Martha Russo
Through June 12, 2016
Martha Russo nomos Russo’s organic, abstract sculptures and installations push the boundaries of clay, drawing from anatomical, botanical, and oceanic elements, as well as processes of growth and decay, particularly on a cellular level. “coalescere,” her first museum exhibition, brings together 25 years of work, from small-scale, visceral pieces inspired by developmental biology and psychology to large-scale, site-specific installations pieced together from thousands of individual elements. nomos, the show’s centerpiece, fuses 20,000 porcelain tendrils into a dense, composite form that demands deep exploration. The ethereal and intricate lightness of being (settled) (2016) establishes a similar dialogue between the initial impact of a distant, large-scale panorama and prolonged immersion in distinct details. Close-up scrutiny transforms an initially unrecognizable environment, revealing the unknown to be nothing more than familiar household detritus—vacuum bags, egg cartons, cardboard, old socks, waffles, and burnt toast—transfigured by a hazy casing of por­celain slip.

Web site www.bmoca.org

Martha Russo, nomos.
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles: Oscar Tuazon
Through May 15, 2016
Oscar Tuazon Hammer Project Working both 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 variations on familiar architectural elements invite a wide range of experiences—just not the expected ones. His new Hammer Project liberates institutional space from its prescribed function, scattering steel, glass, concrete, two-by-fours, tree trunks, and found objects about the museum in a free-for-all that redefines the connection between architecture and social requirements while shifting relations between inside and outside, viewers and objects.

Web site www.hammer.ucla.edu

Oscar Tuazon, installation view ofHammer Project.

Haus de Kunst, Munich: James Casebere
Through June 12, 2016
James Casebere 92nd Street Casebere’s photographs explore a wide range of architectural subjects, including domestic interiors, flooded mansions, bare prison cells and corridors, ancient water tunnels in Bologna, Moorish and Islamic structures, and the Jewish Ghetto in Venice—all captured with detailed specificity. And yet, despite the suggestion of documentary witness, these images bear no relation to actual buildings or sites that might be visited in the flesh. His photographs are not exactly lies, just (mis)representations that exploit our casual understanding of the photographed subject. Documenting minutely rendered, self-made architectural models, they transpose completely imagined and fabricated scenes into the factual pictorial record. This exhibition features more than 70 works that hover somewhere between the fugitive and the sublime, including a selection of working notebooks, collages, and never-before-seen Polaroid studies of individual models as they evolve toward the singular finished image.

Web site www.hausderkunst.de

James Casebere, 92nd Street.
Henry Moore Institute Leeds, UK: John Latham
Through June 19, 2016
John Latham Study for a Bing Moment Latham, who died in 2006, has been called an “artist’s artist.” A sculptor, painter, performance artist, teacher, and theorist, his significance lies somewhere between Beuys and Rauschenberg as someone whose ideas continue to shape the art of today. His visceral and enigmatic work ranges across media, attempting to explore complex cosmological ideas while questioning the function of art in society. An oblique criticism of the art market culminated in 2003 with the designation of Flat Time House (his former home) as a living sculpture open to anyone. “A Lesson in Sculpture with John Latham” examines his creation of a unified theory of existence that combines art, science, and philosophy and challenges expert opinion in each field. In addition to 15 works by Latham, the show features 15 works by other artists (including Marcel Broodthaers, Mary Kelly, Gordon Matta-Clark, Josiah McElheny, Katie Paterson, Carey Young, and Michel­angelo Pistoletto) who share similar interests in material transformation, matter and process, and labor.

Web site www.henry-moore.ac.uk

John Latham, Study for a Bing Moment.
High Museum of Art, Atlanta: Vik Muniz
Through August 21, 2016
Vik Muniz Brillo Box Painter, sculptor, photographer, conceptualist, prankster, and social critic, Muniz places photography in an intermediary role between created object and viewer. While the final product may be a photograph, that image also documents an ephemeral original formed of completely different materials. In Muniz’s case, those materials include dirt, diamonds, sugar, wire, string, chocolate, peanut butter, plastic toy figures, cotton, dust, ketchup, junk, and punched holes rendered into tableaux that mimic famous paintings and photographs, media images, and earthworks. Photographs allow him to make what he calls “the worst possible illusion”: his witty double-entendres appear as coherent images, but they pose complex questions about how visual information is developed, presented, and interpreted—a project that has entered more contested terrain in recent works created with electron microscopes and manipulated microorganisms (including bacteria and cancer cells).

Web site www.high.org


Brillo Box, Vik Muniz.
Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston: Walid Raad
Through May 30, 2016
Walid Raad Installation Detail For the last 25 years, Raad, who grew up in Lebanon during the civil war, has used photography, video, sculpture, and performance to investigate distinctions between fact and fiction and ways of representing, remembering, and making sense of history. His work questions the veracity of archival and photographic documents, while exploring how memory and narrative can direct conflict—particularly the socio-economic and military policies that have shaped the Middle East over the past few decades, including labor conditions in the Gulf. His first North American museum survey features nearly 150 works, including two important long-term projects: The Atlas Group (1989– 2004), a contemporary history of Lebanon told through artifacts and accounts created by a fictional collective and sponsored by an imaginary foundation, and Scratching on things I could disavow (2007– ongoing), which sets the Arab world’s emerging art market against the geopolitical, economic, and military realities consuming the region.  During the course of the show, Raad will be present in the galleries for several presentations of Walkthrough, a 55-minute live performance that underscores the importance of storytelling as a tool for both critique and understanding.  

Web site www.icaboston.org


Walid Raad, Installation detail.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam: Mike Nelson
Through June 5, 2016
Mike Nelson Amnesiac Shrine Nelson favors intuition over rationality, creating physically immersive and emotionally disruptive environments that force us to apply personal knowledge and experience to a labyrinthine maze of imagery that jumbles all sense of time and sense. In this commissioned solo project, he revisits his Turner Prize-nominated Amnesiac Shrine (2007), itself a reworking of an earlier body of work. In the mid-1990s, Nelson invented the Amnesiacs, a biker gang composed of Gulf War veterans, who collaborated on his projects through a series of “flashbacks.” The resulting ideas recognized no limits: just as Soviet writers used the sci-fi genre (a special interest of Nelson’s) to bypass censors, he used the Amnesiacs to circumvent then prevailing norms of art production and criticism. Conjured through additional flashbacks, the materials and references behind Amnesiac Shrine (devotional offerings of half-remembered motifs taken from other artists) slip every normative constraint, aligning reality and fiction, the possible and the impossible. Nothing is what it seems in this funhouse of metaphors, where the only key to external illusions is the baggage of internal introspection.

Web site www.boijmans.nl

Mike Nelson, Amnesiac Shrine (detail).
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam: Ugo Rondinone
Through May 29, 2016
Ugo Rondinone MuteAccording to Rondinone, “Good art revolutionizes your whole being. It is something that stops you or slows you down.” Over the years, that question of time, particularly lived time, has become paramount in his installations and environments, which distort everyday images and occurrences into the strange and won­­der­­- ful. The new and recent works featured in “Vocabulary of Solitude,” including a large-scale color spectrum installation that unfolds various facets of existence, find continuously inventive ways to condense and draw out the details of lived experience. At the center of everything and in the middle of nothing, 45 life-size clown sculptures go through the motions of an ordinary 24-hour day. Titled in the present tense—wake, be, breathe, remember, run, daydream, feel, yawn, sleep—these personifications of unhappiness balance the euphoria of momentary beauty found in Rondinone’s rainbows and mandalas with the despondency of rote repetition.

Web site www.boijmans.nl

Ugo Rondinone, mute.
Museum of Modern Art, New York: Neil Beloufa
Through June 12, 2016
Neil Beloufa World Domination Seamlessly blending moving image and sculpture, Beloufa lures viewers into a no-man’s land on the border between fiction and reality. Within these environments, projections become objects, obstructing and consciously framing the viewing experience. Visible cables and cords, in addition to live, closed-circuit television feeds of the space, muddy the waters further, confusing the artistic, the technological, and the social. Then there are the projections themselves, created in collaboration with amateur and professional actors, who improvise on a panoply of enigmatic subjects, ranging from extraterrestrials to nationalism, terrorism, consumerism, and the iconography of the red bandana. Beloufa’s new environment, The Colonies (2016), was made by hand, using inexpensive construction materials and techniques. The repurposed video at its center, People’s passion, lifestyle, beautiful wine, gigantic glass towers, all surrounded by water (2011), features a group of people in an unnamed city enthusiastically describing their lives in the stilted non-speak of infomercials; they could be anywhere, but Midtown Man­­­hattan suits them perfectly.

Web site www.moma.org

Niel Beloufa, World Domination.
Tweed Museum of Contemporary Art, University of Minnesota, Duluth: Sharon Louden
Through May 26, 2016
Sharon Louden Windows Loudon, who has been called “the Robert Ryman of the 21st century,” gives linear abstraction an anthropomorphic edge. Though predominantly formal and minimal, her animations, sculptures, and installations, with their implied or actual movement, suggest a human aspect in their gestural individuality. Her new multi- disciplinary installation, Windows, extends the play of line into a symphony of planes. Suspended from the ceiling, clear acetate drawings, bright, thin, reflective sheets of aluminum, and colored aluminum panels fill the space, their dynamic, postmodern hall-of mirrors effect activated by shape-shifting theatrical lighting (Arden Weaver) and a specially composed musical score (Andrew E. Simpson).

Web site www.d.umn.edu/tma


Sharon Louden, Windows.
Weston Art Gallery, Cincinnati: Shinji Turner-Yamamoto
Through June 5, 2016
Shinji Turner-Yamamoto Pentimenti: Mojacar la vieja For the environmentally conscious Turner-Yamamoto, earth is both subject and material. But his work goes deeper than respect for the planet; at its core, it is concerned with the roots of that respect—call it awareness, mindfulness, or simply attention to what we can see, hear, smell, and feel around us. His new multi-level, multimedia installation Sidereal Silence (relating to distant stars or constellations) re-creates the aural phenomena of cascading waterfalls in the Pacific Northwest and Switzerland. Reimagining his research trips to those regions, Turner-Yamamoto transforms the gallery into a continuously unfolding soundscape traversed by a walking path that cuts through a landscape composed of paintings, sculptures, photographs, and videos. In this perceptual paradise, earth meets the heavens as crystalline formations and fossil remains echo cosmic time and space.

Web site www.westonartgallery.com

Shinji Turner-Yamamoto, Pentimenti: Mojácar le Vieja.

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