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Sculpture cover




Sept 2017
Vol. 36 No. 7

A publication of the
International Sculpture Center
New York: Whitney Biennial 2017 - Whitney Museum of American Art
by Sue Canning
Jessi Reaves, Idol of the Hares, 2014. Smaller and more diverse than in years past, this year's Whitney Bien - nial featured the work of 63 artists spread across two floors, the stairwell, and lobby of the museum's new Renzo Piano building. With few walls, high ceilings, and works hung together in separate spaces as if in mini gallery shows, the layout encouraged viewers to wander about almost as if they were at an art fair. The rather vague organizing concept - the relationship of individual self to the turbulent present - seemed designed to be as inclusive and fragmented as our current political soap opera. Much of the critical response centered on the return of painting - mostly figurative with a few nods to abstraction - and the controversy over Dana Schutz's Open Casket, based on photographs of Emmett Till in his coffin. ...see the entire review in the print version of sept's Sculpture magazine.

Jessi Reaves, Idol of the Hares, 2014.
Washington, DC: Christian Benefiel - Flashpoint Gallery
by Elena Goukassian
Christian Benefiel, Factions of People
Certain of what they Believe to be
Oppression, 2017 In Christian Benefiel's recent exhibition, three large sculptures filled a small, elongated space. Each work, created of interwoven pieces of wood, was held together through the strength of the intricate con - nections linking its individual parts. Benefiel sees his constructions as a physical means of addressing the interactions of singular elements in complex systems, whether social systems ( societies and governments) or biological ones (organisms both simple and complex). On the outside, looking in, to a hole greeted visitors as they walked into the gallery. Made from found scraps of wood - primarily picture frames and easels - the sculpture looked like an enormous bird nest set on its side, with a hole cutting all the way through. ...see the entire review in the print version of sept's Sculpture magazine.

Christian Benefiel, Factions of People Certain of what they Believe to be Oppression, 2017
Muncie, Indiana: J. Ma, C. Smith, C. Walker - David Owsley Museum of Art, Ball State University
by Jonathan Goodman
Christopher Smith, Pink Panther,
2017The three artists featured in this show come from different places - Jongil Ma from Korea (now living in New York), Christopher Smith from the U.S., and Corban Walker from Ireland - but they all share an interest in glass and Plexiglas. Curator Lisa Banner, a professor at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, exploited this commonality in two ways: first, as a means to remember the university's ties to the Ball family glassmanufacturing business and, second, as a tool to explore subtle changes in material, as well as shifts in vision and viewpoint. Ma constructs painting-like panels from wooden strips or inkjet prints covered with Plexiglas; Smith works with videos projected onto Plexiglas; and Walker stacks sheets of glass and Plexiglas to establish hard-edged geometric forms. ...see the entire review in the print version of sept's Sculpture magazine.

Christopher Smith, Pink Panther, 2017
Boston: Andy Moerlein and Donna Dodson - Boston Sculptors Gallery
by B. Amore
Andy Moerlein, Akimbo, 2016Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein recently transformed Boston Sculptors Gallery into a new kind of Wonderland with their related shows, "Zodiac" and "Geology." Dodson's anthropomorphic deities, arranged in two circles, reference both Chinese and Western zodiac symbols. The archetypal figures emanate an extraordinary calm. Each takes a similar stolid stance yet clearly expresses her individuality. Careful carving of maple, elm, walnut, mulberry, and cherry allows the natural grain and color to flow through smoothly sanded and polished surfaces. Dodson's figures often have painted features, bringing to mind the makeup used by some women. There is an intimacy of scale as well as of demeanor, with each goddess standing just over two feet tall. Like miniature regents, they gaze out yet retain a secretive inner focus. ...see the entire review in the print version of sept's Sculpture magazine.

Andy Moerlein, Akimbo, 2016
New York: Heinz Mack - Sperone Westwater
by Robert C. Morgan
Heinz Mack, installation view of Heinz Mack, 2017. In Heinz Mack's recent, three-floor exhibition, carefully selected monochromatic paintings, wall reliefs, ink drawings, and stelae were placed together to read like a narrative. The quest for narrative in abstract terms is beginning to appear integral to Mack's work. Rather than em phasizing mediumistic aspects, he clearly went for the impact of earthly and celestial light on physical form, a position related in some ways to the Romantic poet, playwright, natural philosopher, painter, and color theorist, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (17491832), a figure with whom Mack has been compared. Mack moves between glittering, absorbent monochrome reliefs and upright, standing sculptures in the same way that Goethe moved between poetry and painting. ...see the entire review in the print version of sept's Sculpture magazine.

Heinz Mack, installation view of "Heinz Mack," 2017.
Seattle: Akio Takamori - James Harris Gallery
by Kazuko Nakane
Akio Takamori, Willy B, 2016. The works in Akio Takamori's recent show revealed a strangely somber and perplexing side to this usually exuberant ceramic artist, examining the rituals of male public behavior. These were the last works that he produced before succumbing to a long bout with cancer last year. Idio - syncratic and characterized by masterful technique, Takamori's work is also known for a perilous awkwardness, which often doubles as self-examination. The array of inspiration is free-ranging, his subjects all filtered through wide-open eyes. In this show, however, there were no exquisite copies of Goya or Velázquez, no Japanese villagers created out of old photos, memories, and imagination. Takamori took the title of the show, "Apology/Remorse," from his observations on recent American politics. ...see the entire review in the print version of sept's Sculpture magazine.

Akio Takamori, Willy B, 2016.
Cologne, Germany: Norbert Prangenberg - Galerie Karsten Greve
by Mark S. Price
Norbert Prangenberg, Figur, 1994. Nearly every top-heavy Figur sculpted by Norbert Prangenberg (1949 2012) is reminiscent of an ancient amphora or pithos, although without the lid or twin handles. The rest of his symmetrical Figuren approximate modern barrels. We eventually realize that neither of his container types can hold liquid or grain, because they remain fundamentally un-reconstituted ropes of clay. The concentric coils were crudely kneaded into lengths up to 2.5 inches thick before being barely smoothed and vertically stacked. Prangenberg's favored ellipsoid is the three-dimensional manifestation of an ellipse, but the volume's rounded ends are snipped off, like the tips of a giant, bulging cigar. The cropped, or never attached, tips provide the top and bottom orifices of his standing Figuren while also functioning as stable bases. Eerily, both variations of his signature form are sufficiently voluminous to inter a human body or two. ...see the entire review in the print version of sept's Sculpture magazine.

Norbert Prangenberg, Figur, 1994.
DISPATCH: St. Petersburg, Russia - Art Prospect
by Kate Bonansinga

Karianne Stensland, Great Emotions, 2016Last year, Art Prospect, St. Petersburg's first and only public art festival, marked its fifth year. Since its inception, its artistic vision has been shaped by Susan Katz, an American who has lived in St. Petersburg since 1998, and Kendal Henry, a New Yorker involved with public art. In 2016, the festival focused on social practice and community engagement, with projects by 33 different artists and artist teams, 22 from Russia and the remainder hailing from the U.S., Switzerland, Norway, Finland, and Poland. Two of the more impressive works were performances. On each day of the four-day festival, Norwegian Karianne Stensland engaged in Great Emotions, setting herself the task of unifying slabs of Norwegian marble with slabs of Russian marble. ...see the entire review in the print version of sept's Sculpture magazine.

Karianne Stensland, Great Emotions, 2016


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