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September 2015
Vol. 34 No. 7

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.

Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts,
Omaha, Nebraska: Brandon Ballengée
Through October 10, 2015
Brandon Ballengée, Collapse. A research biologist as well as an artist, Ballengée explores loss—of habitat, of species, and of opportunities to engage with the natural world in meaningful ways. As a teenager, he watched developers reduce a beloved natural enclave, a place teeming with “mysterious life,” into yet another sterile subdivision. Never forgetting that lesson, he has devoted his career to a hybrid practice that combines compelling aesthetic form with marine science and environmental activism. From “love motels” for mating insects to an ongoing series of gorgeously disturbing prints that document anatomical deformities in frogs and other amphibians, his work makes extinction immediate—both for viewers and for volunteers who assist with the field and laboratory research. In “Collapse,” Ballengée responds to the global fisheries crisis and the ongoing aftershocks of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Works include the grimly ironic video Dedicated, which confronts BP’s misinformation campaign with reality, and Collapse, a pyramid built from 26,162 stacked jars containing sea creatures packed in ethanol—each one a crumbling step in the larger oceanic food chain.

Web site

Brandon Ballengée, Collapse.
Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn: FAILE
Through October 4, 2015
Faile, Faile Temple FAILE turns mass culture-driven imagery into its own worst enemy. Since 1999, the collaborative team of Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller has used appropriation and collage to critique consumer culture, question religious traditions, and re-imagine the urban environment. Fusing street art and DIY objects with gallery-ready fine art, they apply their signature dualistic style to a vast array of materials and techniques, from wooden boxes and pallets to more traditional sculptures, installations, and two-dimensional works. “Savage/Sacred Young Minds,” FAILE’s first museum show, features two immersive environments from 2010, in addition to new “ripped canvas” paintings and sculptures. The FAILE & BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade offers a nostalgic nod to video arcades, punk rock, and graffiti culture, complete with retrofitted functional machines that double as sculptures. The ruined FAILE?Temple (originally created for Portugal Arte 10 in Lisbon), with its profusion of imagery drawn from art history, Buddhist and Native American symbols, and 1950s movies and comic books, pits commercial development and greed against traditional values—of both spirit and revolution.

Web site


Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn: Petrit Halilaj
Through October 18, 2015
Petrit Halilaj, Poisoned by men in need of some love Halilaj’s installations, drawings, and films translate personal and collective memories into the changed reality of the present day by giving them a new context and an updated, often magnified, meaning. With subtle empathy, he examines such charged issues as homeland and identity through recent events in southeastern Europe, particularly the Kosovo War. Though based in personal experience, his works approach the universal, their small narratives growing outward in a larger materialization of the world. Like Halilaj’s stories, his materials are simple: earth, straw, wood, concrete, and the rubble from his destroyed family home. But he also draws on exhibits from the defunct Natural History Museum in Pristina, Kosovo. “She, fully turning around, became terrestrial” re-stages part of that dismantled collection (which Halilaj found moldering in storage), offering an alternative museum as the repository of a country’s (natural) history, its population, and its culture. Woven into an evocative installation that reimagines the past for the future, these preserved creatures become more than taxonomic specimens.

Web site

Petrit Halilaj, Poisoned.
Museo National Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid: Ree Morton
Through September 28, 2015
Ree-Morton, installation view of 'Be a Place...' Morton’s career began late and ended too soon. But before her death in a car accident in 1977, she produced a steady stream of playful and poetic drawings, sculptures, installations, and performances. While reflecting the general tenets of post-Minimalism, her willfully idiosyncratic work does not shy away from decoration or emotion. The drawings, drawing-based sculptures and installations, and sketchbooks featured in “Be a Place, Place an Image, Imagine a Poem” move from conceptual austerity toward process and personal narrative, attempting to be “light and ironic on serious subjects without frivolity.” They reveal a literary artist of prodigious curiosity and inventiveness, with a richly eccentric inner life: Americana and kitsch meet conceptual rigor and concision, de Chirico dialogues with Bachelard. Language rooted in drawing defines these still-fresh works—all united by a defining sense of personal, political, and emotional investment.

Web site

Ree Morton, installation view of "Be a Place..."
Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Australia: Marina Abramovic
Through October 5, 2015
Marina Abramovic, Red Dragon A pioneer in performance and an influential figure across artistic specializations, Abramovi´c uses her own body as the subject, object, and medium of dynamic sculptures, exploring the physical and mental limits of her being through works that require her to withstand discomfort, exhaustion, and pain in the quest for artistic, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual transformation. “Private Archaeology,” while not a retrospective, traces her prolific career with more than 40 works spanning four decades, from early interventions and sound pieces to videos, installations, photographs, sculptures, and interactive works that underscore what the artist calls the central, unifying ideology behind her work: “the art of the immaterial.” Reinterpreted objects and simple rituals—enacted either by Abramovi´c or the viewer—become the means to transcend the ordinary and achieve consciousness of something beyond surface actions.

Web site

Marina Abramovic, Red Dragon.
National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen: Laura Lima
Through September 20, 2015
Laura Lima, The Naked Magician “Poetry, reason, secrets, madness, existence, and power” are the keywords behind Lima’s unique blend of performance, sculpture, and installation. Inspired by human behavior and social dynamics, her work undermines everyday life, questioning how we get along with others and the role played by objects in our relationships. By transforming the familiar—living humans, animals, and objects—and putting them into (museum) environments where they don’t belong, she sets up situations that border on the alienated. Her new installation, The Naked Magician, fuses the chaos of an alchemist’s workshop with the hominess of the domestic sphere. Visitors might run into the magician himself as he potters around in his hoarder’s trove of flea market finds and endless bric- a-brac, creating new objects and changing existing arrangements. Less destructive in its chaos than many of Lima’s previous works, this irrational exercise in absurdity carried into reality, takes on a strangely immediate life, making something out of nothing—just like the creative process.  

Web site

Laura Lima, The Naked Magician.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York: Doris Salcedo
Through October 12, 2015
Doris Salcedo, Disremembered I 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, filled the “human void” left by a destroyed building in Istanbul, and commemorated the dead with a “mute prayer” in which silence screams with outrage. This retrospective brings together a full selection of her work from the past 30 years, demonstrating a remarkable balance of vigorous fieldwork and poetic reinterpretation, individual tragedy and systemic oppression. From the dead-weight monumentality of concrete-filled armoires and chairs to the fragility of silk, earth, living plants, and rose petals, these works (supported by a new film documenting Salcedo’s site-specific interventions) give strength to weakness and testify to the endurance behind erasure.

Web site

Doris Salcedo, Disremembered I.

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