International Sculpture Center
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July/August 2012
Vol. 31 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.

Arter - Istanbul: Berlinde de Bruyckere
Through August 26, 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 surprisingly, she is fascinated with medieval and early Renaissance religious imagery (as well as ancient mythology), 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 enfleshed man. Her new exhibition, “The Wound,” includes two specially created pieces that engage a very different, non-Western context, illuminating the tensions that haunt the body and its representation from another angle, as sensuality blurs into compassion, sins of the flesh shading into sins against the flesh.

Tel: + 90 (212) 243 37 67
Web site

Berlinde de Bruyckere, Actaeon.
Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts - Omaha, Nebraska: Michael Jones McKean
Through September 15, 2012
Ten years in the making, McKean’s The Rainbow: Certain Principles of Light and Shapes Between Forms re-creates a simple, but almost miraculous phenomenon using nothing more than sunlight and captured rainwater. Behind-the-scenes infrastructure collects, filters, and stores stormwater, while a custom-designed, 60-horsepower pump feeds pressurized water to nine nozzles mounted on the Bemis’s roof. Twice a day, in the morning and early evening, a dense water-wall rises from the building and produces this most fleeting of optical events. Depending on atmospheric conditions, vantage point, and sun angle, each rainbow has a singular character and quality—the prismic bands can appear to be a thousand feet away or just within reach. Some?where between reality and representation, this “fake” natural artifact presides over a larger narrative space (the rest of the show continues inside) composed of real and represented cultural talismans that—unlike the rainbow—remain bound to a specific time and materiality.

Tel: 402.341.7130
Web site

Michael Jones McKean, Rainbow Test Panorama Morning.
DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum - Lincoln, Massachusetts: Gary Webb
Through August 12, 2012
Webb’s enigmatic objects play games with Modernist abstraction while reveling in 21st-century consumer culture. A riotous cacophony of materials—everything from steel, aluminum, glass, mirrors, plastic, brass, and wood to bricks, spray paint, fabric, and found objects in a single piece—is matched by an exuberant use of color and compositional complexity. Walking a thin line between order and chaos, these frequently hilarious sculptures marry fine-art echoes of Miró, Caro, and Judd with the vulgarity of mass-produced objects, advertisements, and bling, conjoined by way of high-end furniture design and retail display. Joyful and bizarre, his surreal, unrestrained aesthetic captures the essence of child-like, freewheeling creativity—a key factor in his new east London playground sculpture, the only permanent Frieze commission for the city’s Cultural Olympiad. At the deCordova, visitors can explore two new outdoor works installed in the entrance plaza.

Tel: 781.259.8355
Web site

Gary Webb, Glo Baby Glo.
Fondation Beyeler - Basel: Jeff Koons
Through September 2, 2012
Love him or hate him, Koons mirrors society’s obsession with popular culture. His work negates simple divisions between appearance and reality, surface and depth, and art and commodity. With roots in Pop, Minimalism, and conceptualism, his sculptures modeled on consumer products and manipulated store-bought items dramatize mass-produced cultural objects while exposing the subtleties of marketing. Unlike his ’60s predecessors, however, Koons also addresses our psychological investment in consumer items and deconstructs the mechanisms of their siren call. This survey, designed in close collaboration with the artist, features iconic works from three of his most famous and/or infamous series—“The New,” “Banality,” and “Celebration.” A true child of the advertising age, Koons says that he “will employ all possible tricks and do everything—really everything—to communicate and win the viewer over.”

Tel: + 41 (0) 61 645 97 00
Web site

Jeff Koons, New Hoover Convertible
Fondazione Merz - Turin: Marisa Merz
Through September 16, 2012
Marisa Merz once said, “There has never been any division between my life and my work.” The sole woman among the men of Arte Povera, she has given its philosophy a decidedly personal, feminist twist, focusing on practices traditionally associated with home and hearth. The knitted copper, aluminum foil, wax paper, and paraffin wax of her sculptures (some intended for display in her house) inject a powerful dose of everyday intimacies into the glossy sterilities of fine art. This retrospective builds on her recent show at the Querini Stampalia, where she used the museum’s 16th-century interiors and decorative arts collection to create an ambitious environment for work both old and new. Placed among relics of the past, her inward-turning, almost self-defacing contributions took on new resonance, powerfully reflecting her faith in the “duration” of the artwork—beyond material creation and the limitations of time and space. Reinstalled in “disegnare disegnare ridisegnare il pensiero immagine che cammina,” they become guiding elements in a changing and unpredictable creative universe.

Tel: + 39 (0) 11 19719437
Web site

Marisa Merz, Untitled.
Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park - Grand Rapids: Beverly Pepper
Through August 26, 2012

A pioneer of monumental abstraction and a believer in Modernism’s spiritualist mythos, Pepper configures cast iron, bronze, steel, stainless steel, and stone into quasi-sacred, sculptural precincts. Her terraced theaters sinking into the earth and monolithic sentinels rising toward the heavens introduce an element of ancient liminality into prosaic contemporaneity, archaic simplicity of form instilling an aura of timelessness into even the most fast-paced of urban settings. This show focuses on her work in steel, from the daring, welded forms of the 1960s through the upright, anthropomorphized markers of more recent years, all making the case for an art of resonance and deep connections that ties together public space and shared meaning.

Tel: 888.957.1580
Web site

Beverly Pepper, Longo (tabletop)

Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst - Aachen, Germany: Phyllida Barlow
Through August 26, 2012
Barlow makes large-scale sculptures from rubber, tarpaulin, bitumen, concrete, aluminum foil, rags, paint, wood pallets, and plaster. Such materials—often sourced directly from city streets—offer an important advantage: their contingency bypasses the gravitas and status of stone and metal, parodying traditional aims of heroic monumentality. Assembled quickly and intuitively, her sculptures become distant memories of objects that reject faithful reconstruction in order to transform architectural space. Her Aachen Art Prize exhibition features a new installation that playfully deconstructs the built environment, capturing the joyfulness, absurdity, and transience of life. Like most of her previous sculptures, this one, too, will be dismantled and its materials recycled after this fleeting encounter.

Tel: + 49 (0) 241 1807-104
Web site

Phyllida Barlow, installation view of “Sculptural Acts.”
Madison Square Park - New York: Charles Long
Through September 9, 2012
In Pet Sounds, Long finds a new way to engage idle hands and flaunt the no-touching taboo. As in 100 Pounds of Clay, his best-known work, he sets up an interactive situation in which viewer participation animates the final product. Here, brightly colored railings traverse the park’s Oval Lawn, converging on a central seating area, where they suddenly transform into biomorphic blobs. Strangely magnetic, these distinct entities draw the hand by somatic instinct, and once touched, they respond with a variety of sounds and vibrations. Visual, physical, and aural, Pet Sounds adds a new, possibly therapeutic, dimension to outdoor leisure (for both people and animals). As Long says, “When I look at people looking at my sculptures I just see more sculpture.”

Tel: 212.538.6667
Web site

Charles Long, Pet Sounds
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León - León: Félix Curto
Through September 9, 2012

Curto takes a skeptical view of enshrined capitalist dogmas such as progress, efficiency, and development. His new exhibition, “Ameri?can Junk,” recalls Edwin Gilbert’s 1965 novel American Chrome, a lurid, only partially fictionalized exposé of automobile industry excesses, then adds another layer of ironic reference. “American junk” is the popular name given to U.S. cast-offs that end up in Latin America as consumer goods. Curto enters into the flow of this reverse migration, collecting license plates, refrigerators, radios, and other popular items, turning them into sculptures and installations that shed their tainted status as hand-me-down by-products of cultural/economic oppression to take on an independent life of alternative, rebellious meaning.

Tel: +34 987 09 00 00
Web site

Félix Curto, The Best of The Box Tops.

Museum of Contemporary Art - Los Angeles: Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974
Through September 3, 2012
The first large-scale exhibition to deal broadly with Land Art, “Ends of the Earth” takes a historical/critical look at a wildly over-simplified movement. Imbedded in and sustained by the cultural and economic systems that they cannily appeared to critique, most of these seminal experiments of the ’60s and ’70s had little to do with the land as environment and everything to do with art. Curators Philipp Kaiser and Miwon Kwon wisely reject the usual romantic mythology of “return to nature” and “escape from culture” as the motivating factors behind the widespread impulse to use the earth as an artistic medium, looking instead at political and social attitudes. With works by more than 80 artists from the U.K., Japan, Israel, Iceland, Eastern and Northern Europe, as well as North and South America, comprehensibility is not in doubt here; on the contrary, the selection might be too generous—from the Harrisons to Heizer—blurring rather than drawing necessary distinctions.

Tel: 213.621.1749
Web site

Félix Curto, The Best of The Box Tops.
Nasher Sculpture Center - Dallas: Ernesto Neto
Through September 9, 2012
Neto describes his experiential and sensual installations as explorations and representations of the body’s landscape from within, encouraging viewers to interact with and physically engage these strange environments by feeling, smelling, and touching, as well as looking. Cuddle on the Tightrope, his new installation at the Nasher, continues the change of perspective introduced by the dramatic Anthropodino (2009), which abandoned the ground and filled the Park Avenue Armory with a surreal, airborne landscape. Suspended, spice-filled stalactites and gravity-defying crocheted passageways and chambers transport visitors to other-worldly aeries of adventure and wonder.

Tel: 214.242.5100
Web site

Ernesto Neto, O Bicho SusPenso na PaisaGen.
New Museum - New York: Nathalie Djurberg
Through August 26, 2012
Since 2002, Djurberg has honed a distinctive and compulsive style of video animation, using the pliability of clay to investigate the dark recesses of the mind. Set to music by her partner and collaborator Hans Berg, her hand-crafted tales cast an unblinking eye on the vicissitudes of revenge, lust, submission, and gluttony. In Djurberg’s hands, innocent claymation becomes a medium for wry allegories of human behavior and social taboo that blur the sculptural and the cinematic into nightmarish versions of reality. The Parade assembles an imagined natural history of birds—their evolution and physiology, rituals of mating and territorial display, and the social phenomenon of flocking. Exquisite, sometimes monstrous hybrids, these new species (a men?agerie of more than 80 freestanding creatures) migrate from the pedestal to the screen, where their interactions cast an unsettling light on human society.

Tel: 212.219.1222
Web site

Nathalie Djurberg, The Parade.

Park Avenue Armory - New York: Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller
Through September 9, 2012
Since the early ’90s, Cardiff and Miller have been collaborating on works in which they use voice and sound as both raw material and subject. Situated in the intersection of cinema, theater, radio, literature, and sculpture, their installations evolve as transformative experiences through time and space, using fictional narrative and sound effects to question sensory experience: what is heard does not always match what is seen. The sculptural space in their works becomes hallucinatory and phantasmagorical, a zone outside reality where contradictory phenomena and traditions coincide at the specific time and place of the work. The Murder of Crows, their largest installation to date, fills the armory drill hall with 98 speakers that give voice to a surreal world of disquieting characters and experiences. Based on Cardiff’s dreams, the melodramatic aural imagery of desire, intimacy, love, and loss plays with the English term for a flock of crows, birds with an uncanny relationship to death—symbolic harbingers of mortality, they also practice unique, eerily human mourning rites.

Tel: 212.616.3930
Web site

Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, The Murder of Crows.
Socrates Sculpture Park - Long Island City, New York: Civic Action
Through August 5, 2012
The Queens neighborhood that hosts Socrates Sculpture Park and the Noguchi Museum boasts a vital mix of large open spaces, waterfront access, industrial buildings, residences, and studios. Once a polluted, almost abandoned zone, the area again faces serious threat—this time, from speculative development that flaunts zoning regulations and disregards infrastructure capacity, traffic, parking, and quality of life. In response to these abuses, the museum and sculpture park invited Natalie Jeremijenko, Mary Miss, Rirkrit Tiravanija, George Trakas, and their teams to create visionary alternatives to mindless expansion. Their initial designs debuted at the Noguchi earlier this year; now their ideas for building an accessible, sustainable urban environment are taking shape through sculpture, site-specific installations, earthworks, and participatory, social activities. Tackling nothing less than the redef?inition of growth, their integrated concept of planning envisions an evolving neighborhood, rich in public amenities, affordable housing, and jobs, as well as recreational and creative outlets.

Tel: 718.956.1819
Web site

Natalie Jeremijenko, UP2U—BIOCHAR MARKS THE SPOT, from “Civic Action.”
Tate Modern - London: Damien Hirst
Through September 9, 2012
Imitated, parodied, reviled, and exalted, Hirst is the art world media icon par excellence. Despite the bad-boy tactics and opportunistic courting of hype that have brought him unceasing attention, he explores serious themes—the process of life and death, the lies we tell and the desires we indulge to mask our fears of the inevitable. The celebrity, luxury materials, and wealth associated with his media image only underscore the message of his preserved animal corpses and medical/pharmaceutical display cases containing not miracle cures or everlasting youth but instruments of pain and mortality. This survey brings together key works from the last 20 years and features a group of seminal sculptures (including the infamous shark) that demonstrate Hirst’s surprisingly practical philosophy: “Art’s about invention and we are all desperately trying to invent a better future, and to learn from the past.”

Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7887 8888
Web site

Damien Hirst, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living.

Wiels - Brussels: Jeremy Deller
Through August 19, 2012
Deller, who will represent Britain at the 55th Venice Biennale, believes that “there’s enough stuff in the world.” Just as he rejects objects (unless they’re redeemed through social function), preferring to explore ideas through collaborative endeavors, he also resists the whole mystique of the artist. Inevitably some critics question whether he is an artist at all, but there is no denying that his “theater of therapy” makes people think—often about things that they’d rather avoid. This mid-career retrospective brings together two decades worth of largely intangible projects that have helped to rewrite the rules of art. From Battle of Orgreave—a restaging of the 1984 showdown between police and striking miners, with the participation of those very same Yorkshire policemen and miners—to social action parades and the public discussions spawned by It Is What It Is: Conversations About Iraq—a cross-country U.S. tour with an Iraqi man, an American soldier, and a car blown up by a Bagh?dad bomb—Deller demonstrates that politically engaged art can be nuanced, open-ended, and far from preachy. The show also features a new 3-D film of bats rising from their Texas cave (a follow-up to his London bat house competition) and a unique section called “My Failures,” a gallery of never-realized ideas—many of them brave and thought-provoking, such as a statue of David Kelly appearing to jump from the Fourth Plinth.

Tel: + 32 (0)2 347 30 33
Web site

Jeremy Deller, Exodus (film still).

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