International Sculpture Center
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Jan/Feb 2012
Vol.31 No 1

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.

Es Baluard Museu d’Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma - Palma, Majorca, Spain: Los Carpinteros
Through January 22, 2012
Renouncing the notion of individual authorship, the Cuban collective Los Carpinteros returns to the collaborative guild tradition. Remaining members Dagoberto Rodriguez and Marco Castillo take inspiration from the products of skilled, artisanal labor, particularly architectural structures, furniture and design objects, tools, and construction materials, though their often subversive works alter the familiar to focus on the contradictions between object and functionality, art and the everyday, practicality and uselessness. The four sculptures featured here (in addition to wondrously morphing watercolors) include a bed contorted into the shape of a pretzel, a miniature pool/aircraft carrier, a missile frozen in place as it penetrates a wall, and a group of old-fashioned drafting tables covered with sheets of water.
Tel: + 34 971 908 200
Web site

Los Carpinteros, Cama
Bass Museum of Art - Miami Beach: Erwin Wurm
Through March 4, 2012
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. Many of the new large-scale sculptures in this show (including a Drinking Sculpture that only achieves completion when the audience is drunk) operate on a theatrical scale, inviting viewers to enter the pervasive weirdness that lurks beneath the surface of social norms and unquestioned conventions.
Tel: 305.673.7530
Web site

Erwin Wurm, Guggenheim— melting
British Museum - London: Grayson Perry
Through February 19, 2012
Perry fuses art and craft into a multi-layered and complicated montage of high and low, serious and humorous, conventional and seditious. In his latest project, “The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman,” the Turner Prize-winning transvestite potter gives voice to his inner artisan, thumbing his nose at celebrity and staging a “memorial to all the anonymous craftsmen that over the centuries have fashioned the manmade wonders of the world.” In addition to creating new work—vases, elaborate tapestries, and a richly decorated cast iron coffin-ship, he has plundered the museum’s vaults, selecting a wide array of astonishing objects from the past two million years of human history, some funny, some poetic, and some grim. In constructing this deeply felt homage to what it means to make—as a calling and as a means of self-creation, irrespective of recognition—Perry once again plays a double role, beneficiary and decrier of the star system that has plagued artists since the day of the first signature.
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7323 8299
Web site

Grayson Perry, The Rosetta Vase
Carnegie Museum of Art - Pittsburgh: Cathy Wilkes
Through February 26, 2012
A 2008 Turner Prize nominee, Wilkes has raised eyebrows with her highly charged arrangements of commonplace items and personal artifacts. In She’s Pregnant Again, a TV combines with a sink containing human hair, a half-naked mannequin, and a stroller in a tableau of almost audible judgment. Formally precise and essentially diaristic, her work employs a difficult and coded visual language, making it what at least one critic has called the kind of contemporary art that “pundits pay deference to and that deep down nobody really likes.” But uncompromising introspection is not an end in itself for Wilkes; as jarring as her work can be, it exerts a strong psychological pull that creates commonality and shared experience from isolation. Her first American museum exhibition demonstrates the power behind what she calls the undefined “ancient force” of history and memory.
Tel: 412.622.3131
Web site

Cathy Wilkes, Untitled
Castello di Rivoli (and other venues) - Turin: Arte Povera 2011
Through February 19, 2012
Spanning the Italian peninsula from Bergamo to Bari, this grand-scale retrospective of Arte Povera (eight shows in all) reunites its founding theorist, curator Germano Celant, with the artists—from Anselmo to Zorio—whose work he christened in 1967. Celant’s ambitious project examines this influential movement (Italy’s most important since Futurism) not only as a historical expression of socio-political unrest, but also as a vital impulse that continues to grow and inspire new directions. Three segments of the show are currently on view. “Arte Povera International” at the Castello di Rivoli focuses on international dialogue and energy, juxtaposing works by the movement’s exponents with “responses” by (among others) Vito Acconci, Bernd and Hilda Becher, Joseph Beuys, Bill Bollinger, Hanne Darboven, Rebecca Horn, Richard Long, Maria Nordman, and Robert Smithson. “Arte Povera 1967–2011,” a detailed chronology of the movement’s evolution, continues at the Triennale di Milano through January 29. “Arte Povera in teatro,” at the Teatro Margherita in Bari through March 4, features dramatic installations in a fire-gutted Stile Liberty theater, with new works by Fabro, Anselmo, Marisa Merz, and Calzolari, as well as an encore appearance of Kounellis’s atmospheric, site-specific Untitled, created for the space in 2010.
Web site,,

Jannis Kounellis, Untitled.
Doris C. Freedman Plaza - New York: Michael Sailstorfer
Through February 19, 2012
Sailstorfer revels in transformations, contextual shifts, and spatial appropriations. His work reveals an acute interest in everyday things and materials from his immediate surroundings, as well as a fascination with the identity and history of his sources. Broken down into their component parts, these items are deformed, adapted, and re-assembled into powerful spatial installations. Despite the seeming violence of Sailstorfer’s approach, his objects and installations, including his new creation, Tornado (a densely packed, 30-foot-high storm system made from truck tire inner tubes), radiate sentiment and compel emotional response.
Tel: 212.980.4575
Web site

Michael Sailstorfer, Tornado.
Haus der Kunst - Munich: Sculptural Acts
Through February 26, 2012
“Sculptural Acts” features works by six artists who focus on process. Responding to the characteristics and demands of individual materials (from paper, fabric, and glue to polystyrene, plaster, plywood, Sheetrock, and found objects), Phyllida Barlow, Alexandra Bircken, Michael Beutler, Vincent Fecteau, Anita Leisz, and Kimberly Sexton create objects that carry the history of their making. Born of action—enveloping, tearing, folding, bending, and compressing—their eccentric works reveal all, layer after layer of experimentation, accident, reversal, and correction.
Tel: + 49 89 21127-113
Web site

Michael Beutler, Elefant und Schwein im 3D-Wandteppichstall, from “Sculptural Acts.”
Kunsthal Charlottenborg - Copenhagen: Simon Starling
Through January 22, 2012
Starling, the winner of the 2005 Turner Prize, is fascinated with process—both physical and intellectual. While playfully exploring the links that connect craft, material, and technique, his work also absorbs the histories, contexts, and social nuances of a locale or object. A single piece or operation can reveal countless contradictions. Part utopian visionary and part critic, he describes his work as “the physical manifestation of a thought process.” Uncovering hidden histories and relationships while transforming one object or substance into another, his sculptures, installations, and pilgrimage-like journeys draw out an array of ideas about nature, technology, and economics. This exhibition includes two recent works exploring the notion of performance. The Excursion, a newly commissioned work, features a special puppet play staged with the assistance of Copenhagen’s Marionet Teatret.
Tel: + 45 33 36 90 50
Web site

Simon Starling, Project for a Masquerade (Hiroshima).
Kunsthaus Bregenz - Bregenz, Austria: Valie Export
Through January 22, 2012
After more than four active decades, Export has taken her place as a key protagonist of media art. From her first works, in which she dropped her real name and launched the Valie Export brand (named for the Austrian cigarettes Smart Export), she has been a maverick of shifting identities and role-playing. Through performances, photographs, actions, sculptures, texts, and installations, she questions the place of women in society, the boundaries between the human body and its environment, and social and cultural constraints—in addition to the impact of technical and electronic media on perception, communication, and behavior. This unique retrospective draws on Export’s archive, made available for the first time.
Tel: + 43 55 74 4 85 94-0
Web site

Valie Export, Fragmente der Bilder einer Berührung.
Kunstmuseum Bern - Bern, Switzerland: Berlinde De Bruyckere
Through February 12, 2012
Among contemporary artists, De Bruyckere is unique in her ability to see beyond the form of the human figure and feel the body as unrelenting physicality—meat, tissue, and sinew. Not since art imitated the miracle of the word made flesh has an artist created such fully enfleshed works. De Bruyckere, not surprisingly, is fascinated with medieval and early Renaissance religious imagery, and her recent work finds a contemporary idiom for the Man of Sorrows, a cult image focused on Christ’s wounds, his physical suffering, and hence the reality of his incarnation as a man. This exhibition puts her work in dialogue with the paintings of Lucas Cranach and the films of Pier Paolo Pasolini (another controversial reinterpreter of religious imagery and moral codes). The juxtaposition not only illuminates the tensions inherent in the devotional image, as sensuality feeds compassion and carnal longing penetrates mystical faith, but also critiques today’s ethical heresies (or sins against the flesh), from frigid mass media voyeurism to cold-blooded torture.
Tel: + 41 31 328 09 44
Web site

Berlinde De Bruyckere, Into One-Another to P.P.P., III.
Museum of Contemporary Art - North Miami: Mark Handforth
Through February 19, 2012
Handforth creates out-of-this-world encounters just a step away from the ordinary. His sculptures transform everyday elements of civic space—from lampposts and street signs to traffic cones, metal trash cans, and Vespas—into distinctive personalities that challenge perception. Re-scaled and distorted, behaving in decidedly abnormal ways, these subtle intrusions skew rational perspectives, introducing a double-edged magic of wit and pathos that undermines the complacency of the public realm. This exhibition, which features more than 30 works, stays true to Handforth’s playful spirit, spilling out of the museum to infiltrate locations throughout South Florida.
Tel: 305.893.6211
Web site

Mark Handforth, Rolling Stop.
Museum Tinguely - Basel: Robert Breer
Through January 29, 2012
The roots of Breer’s groundbreaking animation can be traced to an unlikely source—the reductive purity of Mondrian’s abstract grids. Looking beyond stable harmony to the shifting movements behind the stasis, Breer developed his own take on hard-edge abstraction in which irregular forms wrestle against each other in a permanent state of unrest. This exhibition follows the course of his obsession with motion, from painting to film to another important body of work, the motion sculptures or “floats.” Set loose in real time and space, these simple, minimal forms move at an almost imperceptible speed, each in its own direction. Once they collide, they trace new paths in an endless dance of complement and contradiction, demonstrating the power of using one force to define its opposite: movement to counteract movement, pause to dramatize speed, and solidity to visualize flux.
Tel: + 41 61 681 93 20
Web site

Robert Breer, Float.
Parco Arte Vivente - Turin: Andrea Polli
Through February 26, 2012
Polli and collaborator Chuck Varga work with atmospheric scientists to develop systems for understanding weather, pollution, and climate change through sound and visualization. Many of her works rely on “sonification,” a process that translates raw data (about everything from sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and ozone pollution to lightning, wave, and wind trends) into compelling and understandable forms. Recent projects include a spatialized sonification of New York storms, a Web site tracking climate in Central Park, and a real-time sonification and visualization of weather in the Arctic. This compelling survey also features two site-specific environmental installations. Breather and Cloud Car—an old Fiat 500 and a Fiat 126, chosen as nostalgic symbols of a once robust Italian economy—give visible form to air (and its contaminants), demonstrating how such “necessities” can “have a very high cost for the environment.”
Tel: + 39 011 3182235
Web site

Andrea Polli, Cloud Car.
Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros - Mexico City: Roman Signer
Through January 29, 2012
A master of the controlled accident, Signer gives a humorous twist to the concept of cause and effect. His “action sculptures” stand the traditional scientific method of experimentation and discovery on its head, taking the self-evidence of logic as an artistic challenge. Following carefully planned and strictly executed and documented procedures, he enacts and records explosions, collisions, and the projection of objects through space—all in the interest of creating emotionally and visually compelling events dictated by time, acceleration, and change. This show of representative works also features several new pieces, including an homage to David Alfaro Siqueiros’s colorful murals (Siqueiros, incidentally, coined the term “controlled accident”), engineered by miniature helicopters randomly hurling paint onto the walls of the museum, and Acht Stühle, which introduces fireworks into the galleries to toy with the idea of self-destruction.
Tel: + 5255 55 31 33 94
Web site

Roman Signer, Sandsäule.
Socrates Sculpture Park - Long Island City, New York: Emerging Artist Fellowship Exhibition 2011
Through March 4, 2012
EAF artists are selected through an open call for proposals and awarded a grant and residency at Socrates’ outdoor studio; for many, this is their first opportunity to work outside on a large scale. This year’s works represent a broad range of materials, methods, and subject matter—from the ultimate in urban transparency and an architectural view of hell to a vitrine of artifacts from a lost world, a triumphal arch made of cast-off bricks, and a stone-cold flophouse shelter. Works by Cecile Chong, Joy Curtis, Nadja Frank, Ben Godward, Darren Goins, Ethan Greenbaum, Jesse A. Greenberg, Rachel Higgins, Roxanne Jackson, Hong Seon Jang, Jason Clay Lewis, Saul Melman, Jo Nigoghossian, Nick Paparone, Don Porcella, Jessica Segall, Walter Benjamin Smith, Jean-Marc Superville Sovak, Nicolas Touron, and Nichole van Beek are installed against the park’s spectacular waterfront view of the Manhattan skyline.
Tel: 718.956.1819
Web site

Joy Curtis, Hades.
Taipei Fine Arts Museum - Taipei: Ai Weiwei
Through January 29, 2012
It’s no surprise that Taiwan is hosting Ai’s first major exhibition in the ethnic Chinese world. Though his disappearance for 81 days earlier this year and subsequent confinement to Beijing prevented his full collaboration (as was planned), such obstacles have only raised the protest quotient of this aptly named show. “Absent” features 21 works dating from 1982 to the present, encompassing the entire range of Ai’s eclectic output—photography, video, ceramic and marble works, and altered antiques—every piece aimed at a different chamber in the contradictory heart of Chinese culture. Probing relationships between past and present, authenticity and imitation, worthlessness and value, freedom and oppression, these works push limits and defy censorship. (Good behavior, however, is guaranteed by a hand-sculpted security camera.) Forever Bicycles, a labyrinthine new installation composed of 1,200 bikes continues the nuanced critique: every cut and re-assembled bike in the structure is the product of the Shanghai Forever Company, a state-run concern. Ai says that the work represents the changing face of his homeland, where the consuming drive for wealth runs roughshod over humbler values like equality.
Tel: + 886 2 25957656
Web site

Ai Weiwei, Forever Bicycles.

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