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January/February 2015
Vol. 34 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.

Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn: Judith Scott
Through March 29, 2015
Judith Scott UntitledBorn with Down syndrome, and largely deaf and mute, Scott was institutionalized for 35 years before her twin sister—Joyce J. Scott—introduced her to a unique studio program for artists with developmental disabilities. For the last 18 years of her life (she died in 2005), she worked with single-minded devotion on idiosyncratic and increasingly complex sculptures constructed of found and scavenged materials, encased in thread, yarn, torn fabric, and other fibers. Though she worked intuitively, and without apparent influence, her efforts produced a remarkable body of highly sophisticated and multi-layered objects in close dialogue with contemporary art world developments. Methodically assembled, wrapped, and tied, these fragile bundles challenge conventional, reductionist definitions of form. With more than 60 resonant sculptures, in addition to works on paper, “Bound and Unbound” gives unprecedented insight into how process and the need to make can drive creativity, whether the artist is an insider or an outsider.
Web site

Judith Scott, Untitled..
Dia:Beacon, Beacon, New York: Carl Andre
Through March 2, 2015
Installation view of “CarlOne of the most radical and egalitarian artists of the 20th century, Andre redefined the parameters of sculpture and poetry through his use of unaltered industrial materials and irreverent approach to language. Over the course of 50 years, he created over 2,000 sculptures and an equal number of poems, plus dozens of furtive objects and hundreds of postcards, all marked by a sense of the history that accrues within things and words. “Sculpture as Place, 1958–2010,” his first U.S. retrospective in more than 30 years, follows his notion of “unaltered” as he evolved from form to structure, from the erasure of the artist’s hand to the use of standardized units, to his final, decisive pronouncement of “sculpture as place.” Giving equal weight to sculptural and poetical investigations, the show also features a number of unclassifiable works, including the enigmatic, punning readymades known as the “Dada Forgeries.” Most importantly, it underscores how Andre sharpened his understanding of sculpture at the typewriter, conjoining the materiality of sculpting and writing. Creation, for him, belongs in the realm of experience, an affirmative place that restores validity to analytical, as well as sensorial, impulses and permits entry into a “place” of liberties. As Andre put it, “Art is not only the investment of creative energy, but the sharpening of the critical faculties…I think art is truly an open set. There are no ideal forms to strive for nor hierarchies to obtain to. Things have qualities. Perceive the qualities.”
Web site

Installation view of “Carl Andre: Sculpture as Place, 1958– 2010.”

Faurschou Foundation, Copenhagen: Jens Haaning/Santiago Sierra
Through February 6, 2015
Jens Haaning and SantiagoSierra’s radical and poetic statements focus on economic and power relations, especially repetitive routines and the exchange value of labor. Though critics accuse him of abusing misery, his socially engaged works shed a blinding light on accepted “norms” of inequality and entitlement. The Copenhagen Declaration  is a new collaboration with the like-minded Danish artist Jens Haaning, whose work uses precision visual devices to distill the complexities of nationalism, fear, and intolerance. Like Haaning’s and Sierra’s other works, this large installation dissects the mechanisms of political manipulation. Part formal declaration and part open statement, the monumental words engage in a cloaked doublespeak that replaces clarity with slippery ambiguity, as meaning morphs and spins. The artists have no wish for direct communication, and there is no indication of source or intended recipient—every visitor will make his or her own version of this “declaration,” based on individual predispositions, affiliations, and prejudices. Tel: + 45 33 91 41 31
Web site

Jens Haaning and Santiago Sierra, The Copenhagen Declaration.
Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover, Germany: Heimo Zobernig
Through March 1, 2015
Heimo Zobernig, Untitled.Over the past 25 years, Zobernig has created a considerable body of work, including sculpture, video, painting, installation, architectural intervention, and performance. Drawing on various modern art movements, he questions their underlying principles and conditions, challenging and reinterpreting them with a lightness of touch and an economy of material. This large-scale exhibition features a number of recent works that recycle old pieces into new sculptures in which space becomes an essential element. Reconfigured walls from a previous show rise as Modernist towers, while curtains and screens establish a deceptive intimacy, pitting permanence against obsolescence. In this setting, the staging of art becomes a driving force, allowing Zobernig to “circumvent conventions.” Playful, unsettling, and disarming, his various endeavors all aspire to the same goal: “With art, I would like to raise questions and as a result produce things that put themselves in question.”
Web site

Heimo Zobernig, Untitled.
Kunstmuseen Krefeld/Haus Lange, Krefeld, Germany: Nam June Paik Award 2014
Through February 15, 2015

Ulf Aminde and Shi-WieThis seventh edition of the Nam June Paik Award features about 20 boundary-breaking new media works by four finalists making use of everything from vinyl records to real people. Under the direction of German artist Ulf Aminde, whose hybrid videos/performances investigate breaches in the social contract, disenfranchised youth, the homeless, and the disabled bare their mental states, treading the line between truth and cliché in a Brechtian transposition of self into third person. Initially trained in classical guitar and music technology, Cory Arcangel has embraced the anarchic potential of the Internet and its utopian open-source culture, transforming himself into the leading voice of pop-tinged, computer-centered art with altered hardware sculptures and appropriated software interventions that question the value of authorship and revel in our fraught relationship with electronic media. The multimedia installations of winner Camille Henrot examine real ethnographic, natural-historical, and current geopolitical issues through the lens of myth and legend, effortlessly crossing temporal and spatial divides to transform an encyclopedic way of thinking into a poetic language rich in symbolism. Finally, the team of Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead bind virtual data and information to reality itself, creating hallucinogenic environments in which animated streams of fragmentary information enter the physical world and fuse with the observer’s thoughts and experiences.
Web site;

Ulf Aminde and Shi-Wie Lu, Performing Labor Contracts (to Love is give). From Nam June Paik Award 2014.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles: Pierre Huyghe
Through February 22, 2015
Installation view of “Pierre
An adventurer in the no-man’s land between fiction and reality, memory and history, Huyghe has spent 20 years challenging conventional modes of thinking and existing. His drawings, sculptures, installations, photographs, films, and performances depend on experimentation as a creative tool, a means to metabolize expected situations into magical journeys of discovery. In this 21st-century Wonderland, the principal actor is a white rabbit wandering through the film of his own mindscape. The illusion is more than a mirage, however. Weaving dreams and collective mythology into the web of the ordinary changes everything: as the fantastic blends with the organic, the natural ecosystem starts to draw nourishment from imagination, and everything becomes possible. Arranged as a single, extraordinary environment, this show creates a public space (not unlike a park or garden), where visitors can walk, reflect, and immerse themselves in a wide range of encounters, each one a vital proposition that “can flow into contingent, biological, mineral and physical reality.” As Huyghe says, “It’s not a matter of showing something to someone so much as showing someone to something.” In this composite space, art comes close enough to life to change it.
Web site

Installation view of “Pierre Huyghe,” Centre Pompidou, 2013– 14
Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris: David Altmejd
Through February 1, 2015
David AltmejdAltmejd’s highly idiosyncratic sculptures conjure a “definitive dreamer’s” world of fascination and terror. Werewolves, birds, giants, and deformed humans inhabit a fractured half-vegetal, half-mineral universe of shapes and organs in gestation, where mirrored, crystalline labyrinths shatter all stability. This “modern Gothic” sensibility, as one critic has termed it, draws from the same surreal wellspring as the cinematic imagery of Cronenberg, Lynch, and Barney, structuring, then dispersing mystical allusions in an almost natural flow of birth, destruction, and rebirth. Subject to flux and metamorphosis, Altmejd’s work patiently assembles the sediments of consecutive states, then reveals all in a sudden explosion of simultaneity. His first European retrospective, which includes new and previously unseen works, demonstrates how his roots in evolutionary biology have informed an aesthetic of the ruptured and deteriorating in which complicated, unsettling truths replace reassuring absolutes.
Web site

David Altmejd, The Flux and the Puddle (detail)
Museum of Arts and Design, New York: Joyce J. Scott
Through March 15, 2015
Joyce J. ScottIn Scott’s hands, human adornment becomes a vehicle for social commentary and a means to confront a score of controversial issues, including hunger, rape, and racial stereotypes. Challenging traditional dichotomies between art and craft, sophistication and naïveté, and meaning and decoration, she incorporates all of these disparate elements into a varied body of work that ranges from installation and sculpture to printmaking, apparel, and jewelry. “Maryland to Murano” narrows the focus to two aspects of her ever-evolving technique, bringing together beaded and constructed neckpieces created in her Baltimore studio and recent blown glass sculptures crafted at the Berengo Studio on Murano Island in Venice. Pursuing similar themes and motifs, these two interrelated bodies of work reveal the range of Scott’s skill, teasing out the intricate connections that she draws across adornment, content, and methodology.
Web site

Joyce J. Scott, Lazy Girl Neckpiece.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: Shinique Smith
Through March 1, 2015

Shinique SmithSmith, who first came to wide attention in 2002, combines layered social and cultural references (waste, disposal, surplus value, and displacement) with a broad array of art historical sources, including Abstract Expressionism, color field painting, Minimalist sculpture, and Japanese calligraphy. Her sculptures and installations consist of collections of found objects and second-hand clothing, which she wraps into bulbous bundles or ties together to form minimal cubes. Ritualistically engineered, these works evoke the nomadism and transience that lurk behind the “feathering-the-nest” mentality and the drive to accumulate. This survey exhibition, featuring painting, sculpture, installation, video, and performance, demonstrates the nuance behind Smith’s savvy mix of street sense and salon acumen.
Web site

Shinique Smith, Bale Variant No. 0021 (Christmas).

MoMA PS1, Queens, New York: Bob & Roberta Smith
Through February 2, 2014
Bob & Roberta SmithAn artistic enterprise devoted to bringing anarchy to art through conceptual play, Bob & Roberta Smith follow a DIY aesthetic that invites participation and encourages the idea that art can act as a catalyst for change. Originally presented at Pierogi Gallery in 2002 and reprised here in an expanded form, their cunning Art Amnesty invites professionals and amateurs alike to dispose of their unwanted artworks—good, bad, or indifferent—and retire from making. For the duration of the show, anyone can follow the example set by the Smiths and avail themselves of the dumpsters located in the museum courtyard (some restrictions apply). Those who promise never to make art again will receive an official “I am no longer an artist” badge and may contribute one final drawing to the gallery exhibition, using materials provided on site. Lest the nihilistic absurdity get too depressingly real, the Smiths offer a two-part antidote in the form of the Art Party—a pseudo-political party/action started in 2011 to counter the Tea Party’s discourse of austerity, anger, and despair—and another pledge available for signing: “I will encourage children to be all that they can be. Choose art at school.” These pledges will be mailed, along with children’s drawings, to local politicians to encourage arts funding and education, so that future generations won’t have to face a “life of poverty and precarious self-employment.”
Web site

Bob & Roberta Smith, Human Beings Throw Away.
Queens Museum, Queens, New York: Jewyo Rhii
Through February 8, 2015
Jewyo RhiiRhii’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. “Outside the Comfort Zone” shares its title with a recently published book by Rhii and the Dutch art historian Irene Veenstra, who spent nine consecutive days at the artist’s 2011 Van Abbesmuseum exhibition. Her written reaction to the experience uses Rhii’s works as jumping-off points for a wide-ranging, impressionistic exploration of life, art history, and contemporary issues. Now, Rhii responds with a group of works intended to materialize Veenstra’s words, while applying them to her current life in Queens. In this dialogue, an initial set of ideas, touching on displacement, insecurity, and vulnerability, continues to spark ongoing adaptation, improvisation, and new creative output.
Web site

Jewyo Rhii, Slope and Waterproofed Lot.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York: Wang Jianwei
Through February 16, 2015
Recognized throughout Asia and Europe for his bold experiments in new media, performance, and installation, Beijing-based Wang Jianwei examines points of contact between art and social reality. Viewing art-making as a continuous rehearsal, he follows a process-based practice rooted in theater that resists interpretation and alternates between chance and iteration, fiction and reality. Time Temple, his new commission, alludes to the question of how one thinks of and experiences time. For Wang, time is both abstract and real, still and moving. It implies a state of uncertainty that mirrors his resistance to absolute ideologies. Consisting of large-scale paintings and sculptures, film, and live performance, this multi-part endeavor comes together in a rich exploration of transposition—of forms, ideas, and potential.
Web site

Wang Jianwei, Time Temple 1.

Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.), Ghent, Belgium: Berlinde De Bruyckere
Through February 15, 2015
Among contemporary artists, De Bruyckere (who represented Belgium in the last 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. Her first mid-career survey, which includes about 100 sculptures, installations, and drawings, 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.
Web site

Berlinde De Bruyckere, Kreupelhout—Cripplewood.

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