International Sculpture Center
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Sculpture cover


May 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.

Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum - Ridgefield, Connecticut : Found
Through June 10, 2012
This suite of solo exhibitions features six artists who work with appropriated ideas and salvaged materials. Though drawing from diverse sources, they share the belief that repurposing/re-presenting commonplace items and ideas narrows the gap between art and life. From Barrão’s whimsical, freewheeling mashups of porcelain and ceramic objects and Jim Dingilian’s ephemeral renderings on found objects to Roy McMakin’s altered furniture, Regina Silveira’s manipulations of objects and their shadows, Kathryn Spence’s dirt and scrap animals ironically “cleansed” of consumer detritus, and Xu Bing’s tobacco-based explorations of cross-cultural exchange, pleasure, and exploitation, these works celebrate the power of creative recontextualization to upend set patterns of perception and behavior.

Tel: 203.438.4519
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Kathryn Spence, Barred Owl and Object.
Arter - Istanbul : Mona Hatoum
Through May 27, 2012
Hatoum transforms everyday domestic objects into uncanny sculptures that harbor a nagging sense of displacement, uncertainty, and conflict. No longer reassuring spaces of protection, her domestic territories subvert familiar forms such as chairs, beds, and kitchen implements while reconfiguring clean, Minimalist forms into ciphers of ambiguity and threat. In her surreal terrains, even the human body becomes strangely unfamiliar and disassociated. This show features more than 30 works from the ’90s to the present, including two new pieces that continue an ongoing investigation into the intersection of the poetic and the political.

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

Mona Hatoum, Kapan.
Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art - Gateshead, U.K. : Andrea Zittel
Through May 20, 2012
One of America’s most influential artists, Zittel uses architecture and geography to explore the psychological, biological, and economic aspects of human habitation. Interested in what humans need for survival, she researches, designs, and creates personal domestic settings that serve as test cases for experimental and utopian living systems. Over the last 20 years, she has dressed in the same home-sewn uniform for months, tested spatial restrictions by occupying an artificial island, and lived without measured time. This exhibition focuses on work developed at A-Z West, Zittel’s studio in Joshua Tree, California, where she has created minimal households in which everyday activities such as sleeping, eating, cooking, and socializing become artistic actions. Instead of using the desert as a metaphor for escapism, autonomy, and freedom, Zittel examines how it makes the cultural, political, and economic organization of populated spaces even more evident.

Tel: + 44 (0) 191 478 1810
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Andrea Zittel, A-Z Wagon Station customized by Jennifer Nocon.
Hamburger Kunstalle - Hamburg : Louise Bourgeois
Through June 17, 2012
Over the course of a prolific career, Bourgeois worked in dialogue with most of the 20th century’s major avant-garde movements, but she consistently stood apart from trends and frequently at the forefront of contemporary practice. Her powerfully inventive sculptures run the stylistic gamut—engaging abstraction, realism, and the readymade—and explore almost every possible material. These different inflections, however, always remain at the service of an unswerving set of themes, pulled forth from the depths of human experience. This show focuses on work from the last 15 years, including sculptures, installations, etchings, tapestries, and the intimate late fabric works made from pieces of Bourgeois’s own clothing. Reincarnations of the past and testaments to memory, these altered fabric forms express a tormented but powerful femininity. Two more odes to Bourgeois, both focusing on her unique psychological penetration, are on view in Doha and London. “Conscious and Unconscious,” at the Qatar Museums Authority through June 1, features 30 works ranging in date from 1947 to 2009 characterized by raw emotion and formal invention. “The Return of the Repressed,” at the Freud Museum through May 27, features Bourgeois’s recently discovered psychoanalytical writings, as well as drawings and sculpture
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7960 4200
Web site

Louise Bourgeois, Cell XXII (Portrait) (detail)
Henry Moore Institute - Leeds, UK : Michael Dean
Through June 17, 2012
Whether small, portable objects or large, looming slabs, Dean’s concrete sculptures possess an overwhelming tactile appeal, inviting us first to “touch with the eyes, and then allow ourselves to touch with the hand.” The new works featured in “Government” were all cast from surrounding exhibition spaces. Heavy, brittle forms that change appearance over time as they dry and pick up marks from use, some are designed as seats and resting places; others operate as projection screens; and some invade the institute’s structural fabric. Touch isn’t the only sense at work here: language—its sound, formation in the mouth, and associative power—also comes into play. Government, yes, no, education, health, and home spell out their titles in abstracted typography, leading to a thoughtful and participatory consideration of how impersonal systems become personal when they impact everyday experience.
Tel: + 44 (0) 113 246 7467
Web site>

Michael Dean, state of being apart in space.
Kunsthalle Wien - Vienna : Urs Fischer
Through May 28, 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. While acknowledging his ability to transform the most prosaic of settings into mesmerizing environments, this show focuses on the ephemerality at the heart of those interventions. Fischer imbues everything he touches with temporality: for him, evolution and disintegration (though not without a whiff of vanitas) transcend tragic still-life to express the unpredictable pleasures of internal dynamics.
Tel: + 43 1 52189 0
Web site

Urs Fischer, Skinny Sunrise.
Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall - Stockholm : Ai Weiwei
Through June 10, 2012
A wide-ranging creator, Ai has engaged in a huge range of interdisciplinary projects, everything from sculpture and installation to architecture, design, publishing, and curating—not to mention politically volatile blogging and other activist efforts that have put him on a collision course with China’s ruling regime. Responding to Ai’s disappearance last year and his continuing house arrest, this show brackets its political emphasis with two of the artist’s pointed statements: a basic postulate, “Liberty is about our right to question everything,” and its logical consequence in the face of denial, “You have to act or the danger becomes stronger.” While a selection of monumental installations and documentary films fostering social change constitutes the physical exhibition, the complete show follows Ai’s example, spreading his concerns through a Web-based reading room component that includes interviews, videos, and digital projects. A series of related talks addresses the struggle for democracy, freedom of expression, and human rights in relation to creativity and digital media.
Tel: + 46 8 545 680 40
Web site

Ai Weiwei, World Map.
Museion - Bolzano, Italy : Claire Fontaine
Through May 13, 2012
Fontaine describes “herself” as a collective, ready-made artist (the name comes from a popular French brand of notebooks). The group’s neo-conceptual installations, machinery-sculptures, videos, and texts, which often look like other people’s work, attempt to unmask the impotence and crisis of singularity permeating much contemporary art. But if the artist defines herself as the equivalent of a urinal or a Brillo box—as displaced, deprived of use value, and exchangeable as the products she makes—there is always the possibility of the “human strike,” which makes Claire Fontaine a self-defined “existential terrorist” in search of subjective emancipation. This show brings together new and recent works (including a sculptural anti-stress tool personalized for Lehman Brothers) that reflect on the economy as a closed, irrational system intent on preserving the status quo at any price, asking us to rethink the contradictory protocols of private property.
Tel: + 39 (0)471 22 34 11
Web site

Claire Fontaine, Foreigners Everywhere (Italian).
Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig - Vienna : Claes Oldenburg
Through May 28, 2012
Over the course of a long solo and collaborative career, Oldenburg redefined the concept of sculpture, disrupting expectations of how ordinary objects “behave.” His work seems to speak a clear language of the everyday and commonplace, but behind the façade of familiarity lies a subversive urge to disrupt the commodity and reveal its strangeness as a symbol of imagination, desire, and obsession. This show, which highlights the metamorphic heart of his ground-breaking early work from the 1960s, features a plethora of transmogrified items, from a biomorphic ray gun to home décor staples, in addition to rarely seen film footage. Most importantly, it offers an unprecedented gathering of key elements from The Street and The Store, landmark performance installations that plunged viewers into the role of protagonists querying their own behavior in the face of urban encounter and commerce. The Mouse Museum, a walk-in collection of 385 souvenirs, bits of kitsch, and studio models, doubles as a window into the artist’s mind, where the detritus of capitalist culture washes up in all its incredible variety and mystery.
Tel: + 43 1 525 00 0
Web site

Claes Oldenburg, Soft Dormeyer Mixer.
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art - Edinburgh : The Sculpture Show
Through June 24, 2012
A primer (not a history per se) covering the last 110 years of sculptural history, “The Sculpture Show” presents a quasi-canonical procession of 150 works, starting with the impressionistic gestures of Rodin, Degas, and Rosso and ending with last year’s Turner Prize winner Martin Boyce and nominee Karla Black. In between, the route makes stops at Cubist sculpture, Hepworth and Nicholson, Epstein and Gill, German sculpture between the wars, British sculpture of the 1950s (the geometry of fear), the real body (Hanson, Mueck), the surreal body (Giacometti, Bellmer, Lucas), Minimalism and its successors, Fischli and Weiss, Pistoletto, and Roger Hiorns. Among the highlights: six new works by Pistoletto and Hiorns’s monumental outdoor installation of two aircraft engines taken from decommissioned U.S. Air Force planes. Once deployed over Afghanistan, these abandoned behemoths are now stuffed with (inaccessible) anti-psychotic drugs. A prime example of what Hiorns calls “excess power” left “lying in the street for the citizen or artist to pick up and re-use,” his re-constituted engines trade military surveillance for metaphoric duty, calming fear and anxiety with a tranquillizing dose of certainty, security, and well-being.
Tel: + 44 (0)131 624 6200
Web site

Martin Boyce, Untitled (after Rietveld)
Serpentine Gallery - London : Hans-Peter Feldmann
Through June 3, 2012
Feldmann, whose casual inventories of ordinary things have influenced two generations of European artists, creates elegantly spare installations, sculptures, books, photographs, and paintings that illuminate the mysteries of daily life. Sifted through a conceptualist sieve, his collected images and objects—whether mass-produced or artist-generated—re-present the vernacular, the amateur, the ephemeral, and the unattended, bringing order and understanding to bear on a cacophony of visual trivia. This latest “Exhibition of Art,” as Feldmann titles all of his shows, features a wide range of works—including a new museological display filled with handbag spoils, from credit cards to address books—that uncover the unexpected life hidden behind the mundane, taking us back to a time of innocence, when any image or piece of junk could become a window into another world.
Tel: + 43 020 7402 6075
Web site

Hans-Peter Feldmann, Curtain with Golden Rings.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum - New York : John Chamberlain
Through May 13, 2012

A pioneer of non-traditional, activated process, Chamberlain paved the way for today’s sculpture born of crushing, folding, bending, cutting, coiling, smashing, twisting, and squeezing. Though his assemblages don’t flaunt the history of their making quite so brazenly as their descendents, they share the same gestural vigor and gutsy physicality. And their materials are just as unconventional. Whether realized in automotive steel, foam rubber, Plexiglas, metallic foil, or brown paper bags coated with polyester resin and watercolor, these forms anticipate the much-caricatured crumpled sources of Frank Gehry’s signature buildings; unlike an architect, however, Chamberlain has no fear of color and plays the chromatic scale with abandon. This retrospective includes more than 100 works, from the early welded iron-rod sculptures to the large-scale, foil compositions of recent years, all demonstrating a sustained commitment to directed experimentation.
Tel: + 212.423.3500
Web site

John Chamberlain, Shortstop.

Tate Modern - London : Yayoi Kusama
Through June 5, 2012
Immersed in obsession and neurotic escapism, Kusama’s work—from painting and film to sculpture, installation, and performance—entices viewers into a singularly mesmerizing interior world (she has voluntarily lived in a psychiatric institution since 1977) of endless dots or nets and infinitely mirrored spaces. An early advocate of social transformation through happenings, performances, and installations, she soon rose to the forefront of Pop Art with soft sculptures and clothes featuring food-based imagery, but she is best-known for her room- size installations covered in eye-popping, psychedelic patterns that unfold in seemingly boundless optical confusion. Vivid, playful, and somewhat claustrophobic, these insider “outsider” visions make the traumatic palatable, even desirable, adding a contemporary, participatiry twist to the romance of the artist as tormented genius.
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7887 8888
Web site

Yayoi Kusama, Kusama posing in Aggregation: One Thousand Boats Show 1963.
Wiels - Brussels : Rosemarie Trockel
Through May 27, 2012
Since the late 1970s, Trockel has challenged gender stereotypes and prejudices, particularly in terms of imagination and creativity. Drawing on the legacies of Dada and Surrealism, as well as the activism of Beuys, her installations, sculptures, collages, ceramics, furniture, clothing, and books cannot be reduced to a single genre or style— the common denominator resides only in the intensity of their content. Works such as “knitting pictures” bearing nationalistic logos, a steel cube fitted with six hot plates, and Minimalist monoliths made of yew trees establish bridges across the gendered chasm of production. Altered spider webs (made under the influence of LSD and hash) and a mechanical painting machine with brushes composed of donated hair (from Cindy Sherman and Georg Baselitz, among others) probe the interconnections of creativity and survival. This survey, which includes all categories of Trockel’s work since the early 1980s, features an expressive group of 40 recent collages and several new works, all formulated with her precise, poetic, and idiosyncratic vocabulary.
Tel: + 32 (0)2 347 30 33
Web site

Rosemarie Trockel, Abuse of Beauty

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