International Sculpture Center
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Sept 2011
Vol.30 No. 7

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.

Ca’ Pesaro - Venice: Pier Paolo Calzolari
Through October 30, 2011
Perhaps the most inventive and unconventional practitioner of Arte Povera, Calzolari has devoted his career to the ethereal and the evanescent. From early time-based acts involving people and animals through experiments with a dizzying array of materials (from tobacco leaves, margarine, moss, and lead to musk, smoke, ice, and combusted black salt), he has combined transformative process with an ascetic devotion to purity and simplicity to create breathtaking expressions of time and infinity. This show of 25 works dating from 1968 to the present, features sculpture (including the outdoor Struttura ghiacciante in the Grand Canal), performance and dance, installation, and video, all capturing the delicate connections conjoining art, reality, and nature.
Tel: + 39 (0)4 142730892
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Pier Paolo Calzolari, installation view at Ca' Pesaro
Centre International d’Art & du Paysage - Ile de Vassivière, France
Thomas Houseago: Through October 23, 2011

Koo Jeong A: Permanent
Houseago takes a Janus-like approach to sculpture, looking simultaneously to the past and the future. His deconstructed figures strike classical poses, but their shifts between solid mass and hollow planarity betray a steady interchange between the traditional and the postmodern. All about process, these primitive, totemic beings exude urgency and brute physicality, every crude gesture countered by an equally sophisticated reference. Unapologetic and relentless in their art historical evocations, these statues for contemporary times shoulder a difficult psychological role, serving as awkward, unresolved reminders of the past. On Vassivière Island, totemic new creations move out of the gallery and into the woods, finding emotional resonance in a landscape that heightens their animal origins and vulnerability.

Koo Jeong A has spent more than 20 years highlighting the idiosyncrasies of the world around us through visually evocative riddles and playful environments that leave no room for the “ordinary.” Otro, her new commission at CIAP applies the same probing sense of curiosity to a sculpture/skatepark. Integrated into a meadow, the phosphorescent green ovoid offers an unfolding terrain of discovery that extends beyond recreation.
Tel: + 33 (0)5 55 69 27 27
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Thomas Houseago, Pile II.
Denver Art Museum - Denver: Overthrown: Clay Without Limits
Through September 18, 2011
Working in all scales, from the architecturally expansive to the almost impossibly small, the 25 artists in “Overthrown” fuse 21st-century technology with traditional modeling and molding techniques. Some push the forms of functional objects, others the limits of fragility; many take risks with material chemistry and maverick kiln techniques, courting failure to find success. Highlights include a number of site-specific works created in response to the museum’s “starchitect” Libeskind building, not least among them, Jeanne Quinn’s 23-foot chandelier and Neil Forrest’s installation of suspended clay flakes (the largest weighing 300 pounds). Over?throwing our expectations of ceramic art— its size and context, its methods and meanings—these artists demonstrate the continuing vitality of a versatile and timeless material.
Tel: 720.865.5000
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Jeanne Quinn, You Are the Palace, You Are the Forest, from "Overthrown."
Fondation Cartier - Paris: Vodun
Through September 25, 2011
Few subjects carry as much mystery and misunderstanding as Vodun, the ancient religious cult and philosophical tradition that originated along the coast of West Africa and spread across the Caribbean and the Amer?icas with the slave trade. Followers of Vodun (possibly meaning “messenger of the invisible”) believe that the visible world of the living is linked to the invisible world of the spirits, with communication between the two made possible through sacrifice, prayer, possession, and divination. Sculptural objects (bocio) play an essential role in this cosmology, serving as mediators and protectors, but they are also power centers in their own right, capable of effecting change. Constructed of efficacious elements such as twine, bone, shells, and chains and covered with thick layers of clay, palm oil, and medicinal unguents, these uncanny objects exude a force both visual and metaphysical. Some protect crops, others encourage fertility, still others guard against sorcery. But the “empowered cadaver” draws on the full spectrum of human needs and desires, from the noble to the base, and its secret ingredients distill (more often than not) the deepest and rawest of emotions—jealousy, fear, pain, distrust, and loathing. With more than 100 bocio, this show makes significant strides toward understanding an image-steeped system of belief as rich and multi-layered as the cult of the icon.
Tel: + 33 (0) 1 42 18 56 50
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Double-Headed Vodun Sculpture, Benin, from "Vodun."
Fondazione Querini Stampalia - Venice: Marisa Merz
Through September 18, 2011
Artists as diverse as Kiki Smith and Mona Hatoum have found inspiration among the historical furniture, tapestries, musical instruments, and porcelains (not to mention paintings and sculptures) at the Querini Stampalia. Merz, who was in residence in 2006, has used the foundation’s 16th-century palazzo to create an ambitious new environment for work both old and new, where, as the exhibition title states, “It doesn’t match yet it flourishes.” Placed among relics of the past, her intimate sculptures and works on paper take on new resonance within a timeline that reflects her faith in the “duration” of the artwork—beyond material creation and the limitations of time and space.
Tel: + 30 (0) 412711411
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Marisa Merz, Untitled.
Governors Island - New York: Mark di Suvero
Through September 25, 2011
A pioneer in the use of steel, di Suvero has helped to shape our notions of modern sculpture. His instantly recognizable compositions balancing industrial salvage and masterful form have punctuated landscapes and urban environments for 50 years now, drawing critical as well as popular acclaim for their free play of movement and emotion. “Mark di Suvero at Governors Island,” the largest outdoor presentation of his work in New York City since the 1970s, features loans from public and private collections, including a number of sculptures from Storm King.
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Mark di Suvero, Mahatma
Kunsthaus Bregenz - Bregenz, Austria: Ai Weiwei
Through October 16, 2011
For Ai, architecture is about more than form. His early writings and blogs demonstrate how injustice and disrespect for human rights find physical expression in inhumane buildings and unlivable cities. This show, which focuses on his architectural collaborations, begins with models, plans, photographs, and video documentation of specific projects, then expands into progressively more abstract notions. Conceived with Ai’s close cooperation before his arrest, the exhibition lays out the social and politic significance of his approach to building. A spectacular new hybrid of architectural model and sculpture, which fills KUB’s second floor, offers a different perspective on the ORDOS 100 project (2008), Ai’s masterplan for a village in Inner Mongolia with houses designed by young architectural practices from around the world. At its best, Ai’s vision eschews the errors of Modernist social engineering, advocating an architecture of flexible creativity that respects its users and its environment.
Tel: + 43 55 74 4 85 94-0
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January 2011 demolition of Shanghai studio complex designed by Ai Weiwei/FAKE Design.
Miami Art Museum - Miami: Rivane Neuenschwander
Through October 16, 2011
Merging sculpture, painting, photography, film, installation, and participatory action, Neuenschwander creates visual poetry from ephemeral means. Simple materials create multi-sensory experiences that blur the line between art and life, beauty and metamorphosis. As deeply engaged with Brazilian history and culture as she is with global concerns, Neuenschwander acts as editor, collaborator, social organizer, and commissioning agent, investigating language, movement, and consumption. This survey features two of her most poetic installations—Rain Rains, a “rain forest” presided over by dripping buckets, and I Wish Your Wish, a votive room filled with thousands of ribbons, each one printed with a wish left by a previous viewer. Visitors choose a ribbon and leave a wish in its place, turning private desire into collective responsibility.
Tel: 305.375.3000
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Rivane Neuenschwander, Rain Rains.
Middelheim Museum/GEM - Antwerp/The Hague: Erwin Wurm
Through September 25, 2011/ September 18, 2011
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. The works in these connected shows—GEM hosts the artist’s first Dutch retrospective; while Middelheim features monumental works installed outdoors (another first), new work, and participatory performances—turn the world on its head, pointing out the pervasive weirdness that lurks beneath the surface of social norms and unquestioned conventions.
Tel: + 32 3 827 15 34
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Tel: + 31 (0) 70 33 811 33
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Erwin Wurm, The artist who swollowed the world when it was still a disc.
Museum De Paviljoens - Almere, the Netherlands: Suchan Kinoshita
Through September 18, 2011
Kinoshita, whose background is in theater, thinks of the world as performance, complete with actors and audience. In her eyes, there is no one and no thing that lacks the ability to act (in both senses of the word). Fragile objects, often constructed of unconventional materials, take the stage in her installations, accompanied by sound and video. Subtle interplays in her mise-en-scènes allow us to explore the free spaces between sound and silence, near and far, transience and persistence. This theater without boundaries or hierarchies takes the idea of interaction literally—if things can play, so can viewers. In her first retrospective in the Netherlands, she restages her work within transparent walls, manipulating time and space while merging language, objects, and architecture.
Tel: + 31 365450400
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Suchan Kinoshita, Gordign (Curtain).
National Gallery of Art - Washington, DC: Nam June Paik
Through October 2, 2011
Video artist, performer, composer, and new media sculpture visionary, Paik was one of the most innovative artists of the 20th century, countering doomsday “Future Shock” premonitions with witty and humanized renderings of technology. More than 40 years ago, he saw the significance (and dangers) of TV and rapid communication and devoted the rest of his career to proving that technology can do more than lull and enslave. A student of commercial and ideological forces, he upended appropriated imagery (and its delivery devices), turning propagandistic pablum into a call for thinking resistance. In the process, he transformed the video image into a tool capable of redefining the parameters of sculpture and installation. This small show stands out for its selection of previously unseen works on paper (including charming scribbles that send up the conventions of TV), and its presentation of One Candle, Candle Projection (1988/2000). Every morning, a candle is lit and a video camera follows its progress, sending flames up the walls and ceiling in a mesmerizing display. In the darkness, Zen-like illusionism almost prevails, but Paik was never one to mystify his operations. All of the bulky, even intrusive, technology stands front and center, its physical mass giving the lie to disembodied fantasy.
Tel: 202.737.4215
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Nam June Paik, Three Eggs.
Nouveau Musée National de Monaco / Musée Océanographique de Monaco - Monaco: Oceanomania
Through September 30, 2011
Dion’s ambitious project—a new curiosity cabinet and an exhibition of ocean-themed work by more than 20 artists—draws on two diametrically opposed milestones in the history of humanity and the sea. Balancing the cautionary tale of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, which dumped 4.9 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico and produced an 80-square-mile kill zone, with the Census of Marine Life, a 10-year effort that has identified more than 6,000 new species, he weighs exploitative greed against wonder. Dion’s large-scale Wunder?kammer gathers a vast taxonomy of the weird and marvelous, demonstrating how fascination can lead to knowledge and respect. The group show, which includes works by Matthew Barney, Katharina Fritsch, Klara Hobza, Allan Sekula, and Rose?marie Trockel, focuses on the ocean as a realm for discovery (both scientific and imaginative), as well as a site of unregulated human industry, a barely understood world endangered by ignorance, neglect, and unfettered consumption.
Tel: + 377 98 98 19 62
Web site -,

Mark Dion, OCEANOMANIA: Souvenirs of Mysterious Seas: From the Expedition to the Aquarium.
Parco Arte Vivente - Turin: Eduardo Kac
Through September 25, 2011
Since the early 1980s, Kac has explored the frontiers separating human, animal, and robot, raising important questions about the cultural and ethical implications of biotechnologies. Telerobotics—systems of remote communication linking software, invented hardware bodies, and live creatures with humans—and “telepresence”—the human, embodied experience of these works—led him to provocative works of bioart that manipulate genetics. Thanks to synthetic green fluorescent protein, GFP Bunny (2000), better known as Alba, became a living chimera, a unique (and controversial) creation. Other projects explore even more radical alterations, creating living plants infused with the artist’s DNA. Through Kac’s practice, which he sees as a challenge to corporate biopolitics, we rediscover ourselves and our responsibilities as components of larger organic systems that include non-humans, transgenic creatures, and our own technology.
Tel: + 39 011 3182235
Web site -

Eduardo Kac, Transcription Jewels (from the "Genesis" series).
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum - New York: Lee Ufan
September 28, 2011
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 phen?omenology, 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.
Tel: 212.423.3500
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Lee Ufan, Phenomenon (formerly Phenomena and Perception B).
Submarine Wharf - Rotterdam: Elmgreen & Dragset
Through September 25, 2011
In perhaps their most ambitious undertaking yet, Elmgreen and Drag?set have transformed Rotter?dam’s former submarine wharf (an industrial cavern rivaling Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall) into an apocalyptic vision of urban decay that blurs the line between art and real experience. Like a wormhole between worlds, a long pedestrian tunnel leads from our reality into a surreal underworld of blighted dreams. A Modernist apartment block dominates a streetscape populated by a public toilet, cracked paving and broken street lamps, a parking lot with the carcass of a limo, and flickering neon signs. Teenage mothers, hustlers, security guards, and gangs of kids might request assistance or threaten violence. A ride on the Ferris Wheel offers voyeuristic glimpses into apartments where residents lose themselves in reality TV and Internet chat rooms. Neither passive nor active, viewers assume an ambiguous position in this disquieting, but artificial tableau (which has been likened to the Bronx in the 1980s). Cultural tourists, slumming interlopers, or do-gooder judges—this uneasy status carries unavoidable moral/ethical questions, implicating all comers in risk-free stories of deprivation.
Web site -

Elmgreen & Dragset, The One & The Many.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park - West Bretton, Wakefield, U.K.: Emily Speed
Through September 18, 2011
Speed uses found and throwaway materials like cardboard and tape to explore transient aspects of architecture and the body. She examines buildings, both literally and metaphorically, as physical shelters and as containers for memory, bound with the history of their occupiers. The inevitability of decay plays an important role in her works, which often seem to exist in an in-between state, conflating the half-built and the half-derelict. Her new projects at YSP continue this exploration of precarious habitation. Using furniture that served generations of students in a residence hall now slated for demolition, she constructed hiding spaces that restore fleeting life to vacated spaces. A floating shelter in the form of an adapted coracle and a group of plaster eggs containing tiny fragments of buildings complete this intimate view of fragile protection.
Tel: + 44 (0) 1924 832631
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Emily Speed, Cabanon. Photo Credit: Mark Reeves, Courtesy YSP.

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