International Sculpture Center
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May 2013
Vol. 32 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.

Faurschou Foundation - Copenhagen:
Every Day Matters
Through June 14, 2013
In The Practice of Everyday Life, Michel de Certeau holds out the possibility that every human being can do something each day that defies institutional planning and resists power structures. The works collected here, many from places dealing with political unrest or socio-economic challenges, follow that paradigm, using the elements of everyday life—whether materials, objects, or situations—as a means to maintain struggles, give space to the repressed and marginalized, and perpetuate the fleeting. Featured artists, including Adel Abdessemed, Kader Attia, Shilpa Gupta, Emily Jacir, Rivane Neuenschwander, Gabriel Orozco, and Raqs Media Collective, combine critique, humorous gesture, and aesthetic impact in powerful statements that materialize the complexities of today’s world and underscore the importance of the most commonplace actions and decisions. Tel: + 45 33 91 41 31 Web site

Shilpa Gupta, Threat, from “Every Day Matters.”
Grazer Kunstverein - Graz, Austria: Mierle Laderman Ukeles
Through May 19, 2013
In 1969, Ukeles’s “Manifesto for Maintenance Art” challenged ingrained oppositions pitting art against life, nature against culture, and public against private while proposing a new, socially based role for artists—the maintenance of everyday life (“sustain the change; protect progress”). Rather than consider art as a means of “development” akin to industrial innovation, she posited creation as an act of caretaking: artists could apply the concept of transference to inspire people to act as agents of change, creating community involvement and ecological transformation. Since then, she has put this idea to work, principally as artist-in-residence at the New York City Department of Sanitation, where she has produced a number of iconic interventions since 1977; in recent years, she has spearheaded efforts to transform the former Fresh Kills landfill into an ecological park/artwork. This show focuses on the early works that first articulated her system of values and revealed how “listen[ing] to the hum of living” could offer a viable alternative to “advanced” culture’s predatory strategy of “skimming off the top.”
Tel: + 43 (0) 316 83 41 41 Web site

Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Art Interviews.
Hamburger Kunsthalle - Hamburg:
Franz Erhard Walther
Through June 23, 2013
Walther has created provocative meditations on art as an act of “doing” for more than 50 years. In the early 1960s, following the example of Fontana, Klein, Manzoni, and Beuys, he pursued interaction and liberation as a formal aesthetic, seeking to “conceive work out of an action.” This exhibition focuses on fabric, wood, steel, and foam works (created mostly in the 1960s and ’70s) that employ straightforward physical acts—including pressing, folding, unfolding, covering, and uncovering—as sculptural principles. To honor the radical nature of this approach, Walther (who taught at the Hamburger Hochschule für bildende Künste for more than 30 years) will alter the installation several times over the course of the show, reconfiguring his ribbons, rectangles, angles, and straps and demonstrating their hands-on characteristics as Handlungsstücke (Action Pieces) and Werkstücke (Work Pieces). Tel: + 49 (0) 40 428 131 200 Web site

Franz Erhard Walther, Fallstück 2 x 15.
Henry Moore Institute - Leeds, U.K. :
Robert Filliou
Through June 23, 2013
Filliou, who was closely associated with Fluxus, used sculpture to examine the nature of the creative act. Like Duchamp, he believed in the viewer’s role as an equal contributor to the artwork; and like Beuys, he understood art-making as a continuous, universal process deeply embedded in everyday life. For Filliou, games, ordinary objects, and role-playing scenarios could all be sculpture. Aided by the devices of time and chance, he destabilized the fixed object and constructed his work through multiple moments of encounter. Unlike many subsequent examples of conceptualism, Filliou’s work—following Fourier’s concept of attractive passions—is premised on play and joy. This exhibition, which includes many key pieces, makes the case for considering his multi-part, participatory work as a crucial factor in contemporary approaches to sculpture.
Tel: + 44 (0) 113 246 7467
Web site

Robert Filliou, Sans object.
Kunsthallen Brandts - Odense, Denmark:
Phoebe Washburn
Through May 26, 2013
Washburn uses garbage, recycled products, and organic materials to create large-scale, self-contained biotopes. Relying on intricately calculated processes connecting machines and organisms, her primitive-looking constructions take on a well-functioning, but also illogical, life of their own. Scientifically accurate, humorous, and somehow monstrous, these self-sustaining systems go about their business within massive accretions of stacked, bound, and nailed elements—a “spontaneous architecture” that displays all the haphazard perfection of a beaver’s dam. Her new installation at Brandts consists of an ecosystem divided into two separate spaces. In the apartment space, residents cook, engage in activities of their choice, and serve energy drinks to visitors. Meanwhile, “organs” and tubes process their wastewater and carry it to small plant shoots growing in a row of woven hospital beds. Participants are essential to the survival of Washburn’s carefully balanced ecology—visitors booking half- or full-day stays have the chance to pitch in and leave their personal mark on this unique experiment in art-making. Tel: + 45 6520 7001 Web site:

Phoebe Washburn, Pressure Drop for Richard Stands (a history of one thing to another in lemon-aidedness).
Kunsthaus Graz - Graz, Austria:
Berlinde De Bruyckere
Through May 12, 2013
Among contemporary artists, De Bruyckere (who will represent Belgium in this year’s Venice Biennale) 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 a sculptor created such fully enfleshed works. De Bruyckere, not surprisingly, is fascinated with medieval and early Renaissance religious imagery (as well as ancient mythology), and her recent work finds a contemporary idiom for the intense physical suffering that accompanies incarnation. This show focuses on the transformations and contradictions at the heart of her vision—the tensions that haunt the body and its imagery as sensuality blurs into compassion and sins of the flesh shade into sins against the flesh.
Tel: + 43 316/8017 9200 Web site

Berlinde De Bruyckere, Actaeon IV (Miami).
Metropolitan Museum of Art - New York: Sopheap Pich
Through June 16, 2013
Pich, who lives and works in Phnom Penh, uses rattan and bamboo to construct open-weave, organic forms inspired by human anatomy and plant life. Solid and ethereal, representational and abstract, his intricate works combine his training as a painter with the spatial conceptualization of a sculptor, creating three-dimensional objects from a profuse interlacing of line (and shadow). The choice of traditional materials and processes acknowledges the integral role of rattan and bamboo in Southeast Asia, fixing memories of culture and place in a rapidly changing world. This show, which is part of New York’s Season of Cambodia celebration, features 10 large-scale works, ranging from lyrical evocations of the landscape to subtle indictments of Khmer Rouge crimes against the Cambodian people. Tel: 212.535.7710 Web site

Sopheap Pich, Morning Glory.
Musée d’Art Modern (MUDAM) - Luxembourg: Thomas Hirschhorn
Through May 26, 2013
Although Hirschhorn claims that he is not a political artist, his work takes a deliberate political stance. His use of everyday, humble materials makes as strong a statement as his collaborations with local youths and frequent choice of art-inhospitable “non-sites,” such as underpasses and urban outskirts. For him, art is a “tool for getting to know the world and encountering reality.” World Airport, a monumental installation originally produced for the 1999 Venice Biennale, presents a theoretically connected world that remains intrinsically heterogeneous despite its interwoven networks. Here, poor materials become surrogates for cheap labor and throw-away products, and connectivity is revealed as a tool of global capitalism, a smoke screen that blurs collisions into encounters, confrontations into communication, and isolation into commonality. Tel: + 352 45 37 85-960 Web site

Thomas Hirschhorn, World Airport.
Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design - Providence: Alejandro Diaz
Through June 9, 2013

Like the Pop artists of a previous generation, Diaz is drawn to commercial design, cheap, ubiquitous products, and the snappy language of advertising. But he parts company with his apolitical predecessors by following the commercial into the home, where it is reinterpreted and re-used, and celebrating the practice of “making do” or using whatever is on hand to improvise an aesthetic object. Ranging from quaint stereotypes of Mexican identity to socio-economic and art world commentary, his text-based works and installations use language as a form of cultural critique and resistance. Conceptual and campy, his humor-infused slogans and assemblages of everyday junk demonstrate that art can be all things at once: entertainment, political activism, public intervention, and free enterprise. This show also includes a selection of his cardboard signs—“No Shoes, No Shirt, You’re Probably Rich,” “In the Future, Everyone Will be Famous for $15.00”—hand-rendered bits of promotion that demonstrate why called him a combination of Warhol, Capote, Wilde, and Chavez.
Tel: 401.454.6500 Web site

Alejandro Diaz, Rubble Without a Cause.

Museum Moderner Kunst - Vienna: Franz West
Through May 26, 2013
West (who died last year) played a critical role in redefining the possibilities of sculpture as social and environmental experience. Coming out of a powerful 1960s performance scene led by the Viennese Actionists, he developed an early interest in the potential of objects to trigger an array of psychological states and experiences. His unique manipulations of found objects, papier-mâché, and furniture inspire bizarre applications and scenarios. Though fundamentally sculptural in their construction, his works veer toward the biomorphic and prosthetic, possessing an awkward beauty that responds to both painterly abstraction and trash art. This exhibition focuses on the curatorially minded Kombi-Werke, combinations and recombinations of various categories of work, including sculptural objects, Paßstücke, furniture, videos, and drawings.
Tel: + 43-1-525 00-0 Web site

Franz West, Redundanz.
Rockefeller Center - New York: Ugo Rondinone
Through June 7, 2013
Rondinone, who works primarily within the context of installations and environments, identifies time as the central focus of his work. His new project for the Public Art Fund marks his third intervention into the public life of New York after Hell, Yes!, a neon sign that decorated the façade of the New Museum from its opening through 2010, and a 2007 work for Creative Time that introduced the forms of two ancient olive trees into the glass and concrete jungle of Lower Manhattan. Human Nature makes a similarly stark contrast—this time through coarse stone and archaizing representation. These simple yet imposing compositions of roughly cut and stacked bluestone rise in figural approximations that emphasize towering legs, massive torsos, and boulder-like heads. Archetypal in form, mythic in scale, and visceral in character and impact, these nine colossi condense lived time into an abstract state formed of equal parts past and present. Tel: 212.980.4575 Web site

Ugo Rondinone, Human Nature.
Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University - Waltham, Massachusetts: Walead Beshty
Through June 9, 2013
Beshty’s photographs and sculptures reconsider some of modern art’s fundamental premises while finding value in the transitory nature of daily life, especially its gaps, pauses, and moments of in-betweenness. While the photographs undertake an astute inquiry into the history and nature of the form’s aesthetics and techniques, the sculptures consider more abstract questions of time and value—particularly the shatterproof glass cubes fabricated to fit into standard-size boxes and shipped via FedEx (rather than professional art shippers) from the artist’s studio to exhibition venues. In this collaboration with Rose director Christopher Bedford, Beshty uses the museum to structure two parallel narratives: one based in the intellectual rigors of analytical abstraction, the other reveling in unruly materiality—a movement from “cathedral to cave…from line to stain.” A mirror and glass floor running through both spaces straddles the dialectic, absorbing the surrounding world and altering it through reflection. Over time, as the surface cracks through use, that reflective imagery will break apart, conjoining oppositions in a dense new matrix of fractured forms and jagged lines. Tel: 781.736.3434 Web site

Walead Beshty, Untitled.

Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago - Chicago: The Sahmat Collective
Through June 9, 2013
Since the 1989 death of playwright, actor, and activist Safdar Hashmi at the hands of political thugs, Delhi-based Sahmat (Hindi for “in agreement”) has offered a platform for a broad base of collaborators—from artists, scholars, and writers to musicians, actors, activists, and rickshaw drivers. Fighting for freedom of expression in India’s “culture wars,” the collective’s projects engage in political and social debates through a mix of high art and street culture, driven by the belief that art can propel change and culture can reach across boundaries. Defined in part by their consistent stance against religious fundamentalism and sectarianism, these collaborations cut through class, caste, and religious lines to draw a wide array of participants. Stand-alone artworks and ephemera from street-based events, sit-ins, performances, and conceptual exhibitions introduce U.S. audiences to the impact that this unique—and controversial—collective has had on Indian society and artistic practice.
Tel: 773.702.0200 Web site

Prasanta Mukherjee, Aftermath, from “The Sahmat Collective.”
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum - New York: Danh Vo
Through May 27, 2013
For Vo, winner of the 2012 Hugo Boss Prize, 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 church and state when she arrived in Germany in the 1980s—refrigerator, television set, washing machine, crucifix, and casino pass—build a peculiar monument to the mechanisms of integration. Such mutable flotsam starts with the personal, but then moves outward to challenge the temptations of materialist trappings as well as the most basic definitions of identity. The reverse happens in WE THE PEOPLE, a gigantic replica of Lady Liberty that undercuts monumentality and security with fragility and precariousness, dissecting the symbol of hope into broken fragments of thin copper skin. In Vo’s world, actualization and anonymity, liberation and oppression, myth and reality transcend opposition to become inseparable parts of a more nuanced whole. Tel: 212.423.3500 Web site

Danh Vo, For Susanne
Tensta Konstall - Spånga, Sweden:
The Society Without Qualities
Through May 26, 2013
“The Society Without Qualities” revisits some of the chief concerns of 1960s reformers, including education, militancy, social welfare, and experimental urban planning, while reinterpreting those still-pressing issues in light of current needs and mindsets. Part historical exhibition, the show picks up where Palle Nielsen’s legendary “Modellen” at the Moderna Museet left off. Beginning with the pivotal year of 1968, the show works its way through various art and architecture experiments from the 1970s through the present day. Unlike its predecessor, however, “The Society Without Qualities” asks what it would mean to proceed without a model or image of the society to come. Such freedom from received ideas sounds wildly liberating, but negation by itself poses a different set of dangers (as the organizers of Occupy discovered): lack of positive visions and agendas might lead to Deleuze’s leftist ideal of thinking a little further ahead, but it might also result in disillusionment and the acceptance of terms defined by outside influences. Ambivalence allowed Robert Musil’s protagonist to escape societal proscriptions, but what did he build in their place?
Tel: + 46 8 36 07 63 Web site

Learning Site with Jaime Stapleton, Audible Dwelling 0.2, from “Society Without Qualities.”
Van Abbemuseum - Eindhoven, the Netherlands: Sheela Gowda & Jewyo Rhii
Through May 26, 2013
Initially trained as a painter, Gowda turned to sculpture and installation in the 1990s, using unconventional materials to reference the social contradictions and environmental realities that define contemporary Indian life. In her works, everyday objects and mundane materials—including tar barrels, plumbing pipes, doorjambs, thread, newspapers, hair, incense, cow dung, turmeric dye, and votive figurines—are transformed into rigorously beautiful sculptural presences. But a second reading, in which context comes into play, undermines pure formalism to reveal precise statements, which are not always benign. Sensual and unsettling, the works featured in her 20-year survey, “Open Eye Policy,” evoke some of the darkest aspects of human experience, conjuring “the insidious nature of violence, overt and insidious in our psychic makeup.” Rhii’s sprawling, makeshift sculptures and installations stem from personal, almost subliminal responses to her immediate environment. Made of familiar domestic elements, these works encapsulate what has become a commonplace struggle to cope with an unmanageable, constantly changing world. This show features a selection of recent work, including a series of site-specific pieces produced during the artist’s four-month stay in Eindhoven. Tel: + 31 40 238 10 00 Web site

Sheela Gowda, Of All People.

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