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June 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.

Al-Riwaq (Museum of Islamic Art) - Doha, Qatar : Takashi Murakami
Through June 24, 2012
Worshipped and reviled in equal measure, Murakami’s industrially scaled body of work appeals to everyone from brand-conscious art collectors to video-game-obsessed teenagers. Like Warhol and Koons, Murakami does not just refer to pop culture, his life is symbiotic with it. Creating a reciprocal relationship between high art and mass culture, he envisions characters with both fantastical and spiritual iconographies, brings them to life in painting, film, installation, and sculpture, and then returns them to their marketplace origins through entire lines of merchandise, from key chains to T-shirts. The final chapter in a trilogy of exhibitions (following retrospectives at MOCA LA and Versailles), “Murakami—Ego” reconceives more than 60 works as a theatrical totality, complete with digital animation pedestals and a circus tent/cinema. Part side show, part existential exploration, this “dialogue with [the artist’s] ego,” offers a portrait of the artist as cartoon, a mirror of global networks struggling to maintain a private universe in the face of growing information overload.

Tel: + 974 4452 5555
Web site:

Takashi Murakami, installation view of "Murakami-Ego."
Brooklyn Museum - Brooklyn : Rachel Kneebone
Through August 12, 2012
Kneebone’s intricately wrought porcelain sculptures strike a balance between articulated detail and undifferentiated miasma. Tangled flora, intertwining limbs, and writhing bodies coalesce in a seductive and generative flux, barely held in check by compositional constraints. Inspired by the iconic figures of Michelangelo, Bernini, and Rodin—blended with a dash of hothouse Rococo decadence—Kneebone trades timeless stasis and defined form for transgressive states of mutation and metamorphosis. Her first major museum exhibition juxtaposes eight recent large-scale works with 15 Rodin bronzes. Despite the stark contrasts, this parallel installation reveals how sexuality, ecstasy, change, life, and death remain at the core of human expression. Like Ovid and Dante, whose Divine Comedy inspired the show’s centerpiece (and the Gates of Hell), Kneebone grasps the allure of the body rendered ambiguous and the pleasures of proxy punishment.

Tel: 718.638.5000
Web site

Rachel Kneebone, When I doubt I exist again.
Glasgow Sculpture Studios - Glasgow : Teresa Margolles
Through June 30, 2012
Margolles, who took a degree in forensics after studying art, found her artistic voice while working in a Mexico City morgue in the 1990s. Employing a radical and uncompromising realism to instill deep emotional drama into minimal forms, she investigates taboo areas of life and death—what happens when we die, and what is left behind after death. From dissecting tables to Mexico’s violent streets, her work bears witness to social unrest and its effects on human memories, as well as bodies. Her initial site visit to GSS coincided with the riots in England, and she traveled to London to document the days of social and political upheaval that followed. Gathered into a new body of work (and paired with an ongoing project devoted to a recovered archive of photographs from Cuidad Juárez), these photographic records and bits of debris collected from the streets reflect on the often-forgotten truth that all places are scarred by stories of suffering.

Tel: + 44 (0) 141 204 1740
Web site:

Teresa Margolles, action at the Edinburgh Festival, with 10 people wearing press headlines from the London riots.
Haus der Kunst - Munich : Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller
Through July 8, 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. This show includes eight independent, yet complementary installations, all relying on a paradoxical sense of intimacy born of deliberately misleading hyper-realistic illusion.
Tel: + 49 89 21127-113
Web site:

Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, The Killing Machine
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art - Kansas City, Missouri : Eric Fertman
Through July 28, 2012
Mash-ups of bulbous forms, cartoonish objects, dowels, posts, and other assorted oddities, Fertman’s sculptures appear to align themselves with voracious postmodern bricolage, but there is more at work here than clever appropriation and quotation. Devotion to the handmade and a shameless love of materials (particularly wood and metal) give meaning to his quirky syntheses of influences—Puryear in dialogue with Miró, Guston, Westermann, and R. Crumb—while a highly skilled hand brings them to life. Semi-abstract and goofy, his deliberately awkward constructions range from comical animals to visionary architectural models and menacing industrial machinery, to plays on classic noir. Fertman’s first museum show features 21 sculptures, as well as works on paper, all imbued with a signature dark humor and updated retro sensibility.

Tel: 816.753.5784
Web site

Eric Fertman, installation view of "Here's Your Hat, What's Your Hurry?"
Kunsthalle Baden-Baden - Baden-Baden, Germany : Jan De Cock
Through June 24, 2012

For more than 10 years, De Cock has invaded Europe’s leading art institutions with his temporary Denkmäler- massive architectonic anti-monuments that interfere with and reinterpret existing space. Wall, floor, and ceiling sculptures combine with interlocking niches and boxes to create rigorously geometric and mysteriously seductive landscapes that reorganize experience and encroach on normal expectations. In Baden-Baden, “Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis: A Romantic Exhibition” moves into decidedly metaphorical and oblique terrain. Unfolding in a complex, interlocking system of splintered units without beginning or end, works addressing Saturation, Spectacle, Value, Imitation, and Fanaticism connect the dots of a disjointed biography. Viewers are left to waver from one fragment to the next, rehearsing the stages of a mythical life that has become emptied of meaning beyond its role as
a magnet for usurped destinies and unfulfilled desires.

Tel: + 49 7221-30076-400
Web site

Jan De Cock, installation view of Panorama Room from "Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis."

Kunsthaus Bregenz - Bregenz, Austria : Danh Vo
Through June 24, 2012
For Vo, history—with its complex political, religious, and cultural dynamics—is reflected in individual life stories, including his own. (His family fled Vietnam’s postwar chaos in 1979.) His subtly humorous sculptures combine found objects that point back to the past while moving forward into entirely new, unexpected meanings, connections, and contexts. In Oma Totem, for instance, the gifts that his late grandmother received from the Catholic Church and state authorities when she arrived in Germany in the 1980s—refrigerator, television set, washing machine, crucifix, and casino pass—build a poignant and peculiar monument to the mechanisms of integration. Such mutable fragments start with the personal, but then move outward to play with and challenge the temptations of materialist trappings, as well as the most basic definitions of identity. “Vo Danh,” the title of his first major museum show, graphically captures these tensions between actualization and anonymity—in Vietnamese, the seemingly self-referential phrase simply means “without name.”

Tel: + 43 55 74 4 85 94-0
Web site

Danh Vo, Tombstone for Nguyen Thi Ty
MAXXI- Rome : Doris Salcedo
Through June 24, 2012
Salcedo has a rare ability to give visual form to traumatic loss and suppressed sorrow: a pair of shoes or ordinary chairs, tables, and beds become alternative memorials impregnated with absence. A sculptor of memory and life, poverty and dignity, she has cracked the floor
of Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, walled up a room of the Castello di Rivoli, and filled the “human void” left by the destruction of a building in Istanbul. Plegaria Muda, which can be translated as “mute prayer,” continues that forceful investigation of human conflict and violence through minimal form and scarcely contained emotion. This collective burial site began with three years of research into the ghettos of South East Los Angeles, but it also responds to atrocities committed by the Colombian army between 2003 and 2009, when some 1,500 young men from poor neighborhoods were dressed in rebel uniforms, murdered, and falsely presented as guerrillas killed in combat so that units could make their quotas and officers claim reward money. Within Plegaria Muda’s contemplative stillness, silence screams with repressed outrage and hope attempts to
outlive grief.

Tel: + 39 (0) 6 39967350
Web site

Doris Salcedo, Plegaria Muda
Museo National Centro de Arte Reina Sofia - Madrid : Hans Haacke
Through July 23, 2012

A pioneer of institutional critique, Haacke has spent his life exploring “systems.” Ephemeral works based on nature’s feedback cycles soon led him to measure dysfunctional and out-of-control social systems against the ideal of balanced interconnection. From On Social Grease (1975) and Thank you, Paine Webber (1979) to Global Marketing (1986–2011) and The Invisible Hand of the Market (2009), his activist investigations have questioned the mechanisms and functions of the cultural, political, and economic institutions driving globalized society. Tapping archives, newspapers, surveys, and the minutes of board meetings, he uncovers hidden trails of influence and interest, including the self-interest that compromises corporate art sponsorship. This show features a generous selection of works from 1959 to the present, including Castles in the Air, a new project devoted to the fall-out from Madrid’s housing bust. As always, Haacke targets the unsustainable: it doesn’t matter if imbalance is caused by inflation, influence-peddling, corrupt rule, or income disparity, social systems will right themselves—the job of artistic critique is to ensure that the “corrections” benefit more than the status quo.

Tel: + 34 91 774 10 00
Web site

Hans Haacke, installation view of "Castles in the Air."

Museum of Arts and Design - New York : Swept Away: Dust, Ashes, and Dirt in Contemporary art and Design
Through August 12, 2012
“Swept Away,” the newest chapter in MAD’s multi-exhibition tribute to unusual and undervalued materials, shines a spotlight on 25 artists
who conjure visual form out of the
humblest and smallest bits of raw
matter. Featured artists include Kim Abeles, Margaret Boozer, James Croak, Catherine Bertola, Jim Dingilian, Cai Guo-Qiang, and Cui Fei. From chandeliers made out of dust to life-size dirt figures, accumulations of smog particles and auto exhaust, and the transient effects of fire and smoke, these sometimes elaborate and intricate sculptures, installations, and two-dimensional works explore loss and disintegration, beauty and formlessness, and the creative potential of almost invisible detritus.

Tel: 212.299.7777
Web site

Maskull Lasserre, Murder (detail). From "Swept Away."
Museum of Contemporary Art - Los Angeles : Cai Guo-Qiang
Through July 30, 2012
“Sky Ladder” explores Cai’s lifelong fascination with unseen forces in the physical and metaphysical worlds. For him, time and space (following the roots of yuzhou, the Chinese word for the universe) form a single, interconnected entity. His explosion events, gunpowder drawings, and installations incorporate both dynamics, unfolding spatially and temporally in exquisite partnerings of intention and chance that allow nature to take its course and the artist to make the most of any given situation. In his first major West Coast show, which includes the new Mystery Circle, Crop Circle, and Childhood Spaceship, Cai draws on astrophysics, space travel, natural processes, and supernatural fantasy to construct a “time-space tunnel through which the visible world communicates with the energy from the unseen world.”

Tel: 213.621.1749
Web site

Cai Guo-Qiang, ignition of Desire for Zero Gravity.</span>
Nasher Sculpture Center - Erick Swenson : Dallas
Through July 8, 2012

Rendered with a naturalist’s sensitivity, Swenson’s painted resin and silicone sculptures can be shocking in their precise hyper-realism—not least because his technical prowess administers a potent dose of helplessness, loneliness, and pain. His fantastic vignettes of ensnared animals caught up in devastating, uncontrollable circumstances and quietly poetic scenes evoking the beauty and tragedy of the natural world become metaphors for struggles of an all-too-human kind. Taking months, sometimes years to fabricate, new Swenson works are rare. This show features a suite of new sculptures installed in an intimate, theatrical setting that stages an illusionary world of verisimilitude blending art and science, the everyday and the extraordinary, pathos and wonder.

Tel: + 214.242.5100
Web site

Erick Swenson, Ne Plus Ultra (detail).

New Museum - New York : Phyllida Barlow
Through June 24, 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 new installation, siege, continues this playful deconstruction of the built environment, capturing the joyfulness, absurdity, and transience of life. Like all of her works, it will be dismantled and its materials recycled after this impossible-to-repeat, here-and-now encounter.

Tel: 212.219.1222
Web site

Phyllida Barlow, untitled: pallettetarpaulincylinderssticksbunting..
Palazzo Grassi - Venice : Urs Fischer
Through July 15, 2012
A maker in the truest sense of the word, Fischer turns everything he touches into an unexpected vignette of transformed existence. Characterized by an open and fluid approach to materials and a disregard for practical limitations—glass, wood, and aluminum meet raw clay, melting wax, and rotting vegetables—his work describes a state of constant flux, dominated by the passing of time. In his ongoing quest to engineer new worlds, he has built houses of bread, excavated gallery floors, animated puppets, and dissected objects to reveal the secret mechanisms of perception. With more than 30 works—including Madame Fisscher, a minutely executed replica of the artist’s former London studio where viewers can experience his creative process at work—this show demonstrates Fischer’s ability to turn even the most prosaic settings into mesmerizing environments of suspended time and internal dynamics.

Tel: + 39 0 41 27 19 039
Web site

Urs Fischer, Untitled.
Park Avenue Armory - New York : Tom Sachs
Through June 17, 2012

In Space Program: Mars, Sachs continues his exploration of what it means to be a self-designated “handyman.” Inspired by the (now grounded) American fascination with space travel, this second mission (after a 2007 trip to the moon) transforms the Armory’s 55,000-square-foot drill hall into an extraterrestrial odyssey. Elaborate spacecraft, exploratory vehicles, launch platforms, and the Martian landscape are all realized in painstaking detail, assembled from nothing more than foamcore, hot glue, plywood, and salvaged materials. In preparation for the mission, Sachs and his on-site crew engineered everything necessary for survival, colonization, and scientific exploration—from food delivery to waste disposal. They’ll be performing various mission-related tasks throughout the run of the installation, including Space Camp, Rover Deployment, and Suiting Protocol, in addition to leading several “lift-offs,” complete with landing and planetary excursions. More than a “boy’s own” fantasy come to life, Mars champions modern creativity and the craft of construction, proving once again that, in the right hands, tools of survival can become works of art.

Tel: + 212.616.3930
Web site

Tom Sachs, preparations for Space Program: Mars.

Rice University Art Gallery - Houston : Yasuaki Onishi
Through June 24, 2012

Onishi’s “reverse of volume” installations recast simple, barely visible materials—translucent plastic sheeting, strings of glue, and fishing line—into atmospheric forms that evoke mountains or clouds floating in space. His process of “casting the invisible” involves draping objects with the sheeting, which retains their impressions after they’ve disappeared. Meditations on the nature of negative space and the void, these delicate, suspended landscapes, including the new reverse of volume RG, cast an illusionistic spell on density, pattern, and space to manifest ghostly apparitions of exacting design and energetic chaos.

Tel: + 713.348.6069
Web site

Yasuaki Onishi, reverse of volume.

Walker Art Center - Minneapolis : Ernesto Neto
Through July 1, 2012

For more than 50 years, avant-garde choreographer Merce Cunningham teamed up with equally dynamic artists, commissioning Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Olafur Eliasson, Charles Long, Christian Marclay, and Ernesto Neto to create sets and costumes for his productions. Explorations and representations of the body’s landscape from within, Neto’s evocative and sensuous forms prove a perfect foil for the human figure and its movements. Installed in a gallery with dramatically high ceilings that replicate the fly space of a stage, his suspended sculptures for Views on Stage (2004), which the Walker acquired last year (along with the rest of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company collection), encourage interaction with and physical engagement in an otherworldly environment of organic potential.

Tel: + 612.375.7600
Web site

Ernesto Neto, Other Animal, with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company performing Views on Stage.

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