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July/August 2016
Vol. 35 No. 6

A publication of the
International Sculpture Center
Bonn, Germany: Isa Genzken - Bundeskunsthalle
by Peter Lodermeyer
Visitors to the last Venice Biennale might recall Isa Genzken’s 23 models for outdoor sculptures, which appeared in the main pavilion. If not, this probably has more to do with curator Okwui Enwezor’s incomprehensible decision to present them with, of all things, Walker Evans’s legendary photo series “Let us now praise famous men” than with the sculptures themselves. The models were recently shown again in Bonn, with 12 new additions; together, these 35 works document Genzken’s public projects from 1986 to the present. The exhibition, however, offered far more than mere documentation. The models, executed by the Berlin architectural and model-building firm of Henrik Hilsbos in conjunction with Genzken, unleash a surprising sculptural power. Such aesthetic completeness negates any assumption that a model-like portrayal of large-scale, and in some instances, gigantic, formats necessarily results in something dry and didactic ...see the entire review in the print version of July/August's Sculpture magazine.

Isa Genzken, Deutsche Bank Proposal (unrealized), 2000. Model (scale 1:250) for former AT&T building, NY. Plastic, metal, acrylic paint, and wood, 270 x 80 x 50 cm.
East Haddam, Connecticut: “Ephemeral Art in the Landscape” - I-Park
by Suzanne Volmer
I-Park’s fifth Environmental Art Bien­nale, “Ephemeral Art in the Land­scape,” featured site-specific, outdoor installations by 12 artists-in-residence from the U.S. and Europe, who presented their works in a culminating, one-day happening. Guided walking tours allowed the public to experience the projects in situ amid the park’s immersive natural setting. Unique in New England, I-Park functions as a conceptual drawing board where artists can experiment without a specific result in mind, and public access is limited to protect the artists’ privacy as they work. The one-day exhibition fit the definition of ephemeral by illustrating time as an informing factor. Rooted in Land Art, Michel Bachelet’s Les Plaques Tectoniques, Carol Padberg’s Urban Biocloth Quilt, and François Fréchet’s Lautus naturalis addressed earth-based evolution. Padberg enriched topsoil through the metamorphosis of organic material. Bachelet engaged the changes of the earth’s shifting plates ...see the entire review in the print version of July/August's Sculpture magazine.

Stuart Ian Frost, Loop, 2015. Beech tree, 8.73 x 6.17 x 5.58 ft. From "Ephemeral Art."
Atlanta: Zipporah Camille Thompson - Whitespec Project Space
by Dorothy Joiner
Started a few years ago by a documentary about the moon’s gradual drift away from the earth’s gravitational pull, Zipporah Camille Thomp­son began to reflect on the moon’s significance and its scientific and archetypal role in human life. The deflection of the moon, however slight, she realized, is a crisis meriting much more attention. Inspired by moonscapes and the satellite’s effects on myriad aspects of the earth’s diur­­nal patterns—from tides and weather to births and suicides—Thompson’s recent work delves into personal experiences, as well as the oneiric realms of myth and alchemy, to probe the mysteries of life, death, and renewal as symbolized by the moon, particularly its darksome phases. Assembled from foraged, discarded detritus, ceramic pieces, fibers, and pedestrian substances such as paint and duct tape, Thompson’s wall pieces take varied forms ...see the entire review in the print version of July/August's Sculpture magazine.

Zipporah Camille Thompson, Oculus Rift, 2015. Plastic, wire, rope, paint, and foil, 31 x 32 x 18 in.
Boston: Christopher Frost - Boston Sculptors Gallery
by Marty Carlock
Chinese scholar’s rocks are hunks of stone sculpted by nature into bizarre and visually interesting shapes. Pitted, eroded, and wrinkled, they evoke landscapes, waves, mountain peaks, sometimes human and animal figures. In Asia, they are mounted on individually designed bases as objects of contemplation and inspiration. Boston sculptor Christopher Frost, fascinated by such “viewing stones,” received an alumni grant from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts to travel to China and seek them out on their home turf. He was stunned by the contrast between these serene objects and the dazzling, disorienting, hyperactive culture of contemporary China. Two cement forms, Floating Bridge Century Sonny and Pinnacle of 3000 Whys, remain close to their Chinese models. Much of Frost’s earliest work used cast cement to produce realistic forms, but these works represent a leap into the unknown ...see the entire review in the print version of July/August's Sculpture magazine.

Christopher Frost, Pinnacle of 3000 Whys, 2016. Wood, paint, and cast concrete, 40 x 38 x 21 in.
Saint Paul, Minnesota: Harriet Bart & Yu-Wen Wu - Minnesota Museum of American Art Project Space
by Mason Riddle
“Random Walks and Chance Encounters” (“RWCE”) asked visitors to take stock of their surroundings, acknowledge daily encounters, and ultimately, to simply see. Annexing almost all of the Minnesota Museum of American Art’s Project Space, the peripatetic installation was created over two weeks, by Harriet Bart of Minneapolis and Yu-Wen Wu of Boston. The artists first met in 2010 while in residence at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, where they discovered a like-minded penchant for walking, a proclivity for connections between art and science, and an appetite for the limitless possibility of chance encounters—all of which were elements of their respective artistic practices and prompted the collaborative approach to “RWCE.” They worked daily, in situ, on the multimedia project, which incorporated some predetermined elements, such as Wu’s haunting video overlaid with text, poetically depicting a seasonally changing landscape ...see the entire review in the print version of July/August's Sculpture magazine.

Harriet Bart and Yu-Wen Wu, installation view of "Random Walks and Chance Encounters," 2015.
New York: John Crawford - Lori Bookstein Fine Art
by Jonathan Goodman
John Crawford, a Brooklyn-based artist whose output consists of welded steel sculptures, spent 10 years (1976–86) in Tuscany working at a blacksmith’s shop after graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design. Since 1995, he has been interested in the smithing works of various West African cultures. As a result of these models, his work is highly tactile, abstract, and often totemic. Abstract steel sculpture has a long, illustrious history in the U.S., but Crawford’s vision is quite different. He borrows from the forms of other places to create work that openly relates to its making, as well as to the history of American creativity. Interestingly, there is a sensuality and organic quality to his forms, often made of rings and coils, somewhat at odds with their industrial construction. Such differences, however, thrive and meld in Craw­ford’s work. Crawford offered only one sculpture in his recent show. ...see the entire review in the print version of July/August's Sculpture magazine.

John Crawford, A(R)MOUR, 2015. Forged steel, 40 x 26 x 20 in.
New York: Donna Dennis - Mixed Greens
by Joyce Beckenstein
Once Donna Dennis decided to close the doors she had made, they opened for her. When she landed in New York City in the early ’70s and found herself smack within the barbed cross­hairs of feminism and male-driven Minimalism, she confronted both. Her series of “door works”—including Egyptian Hotel (1972), a slim mastaba- like door—resembled geometrically shaped canvases that physically led nowhere. Instead, they functioned as psychological passageways through which Dennis discovered her voice. Studies For Little Tube House and the Night Sky (2015), an installation consisting of dioramas, an architectural sculpture, and related gouaches, celebrates this groundbreaking artist’s ability to stretch her voice. The door series, sired by memories of roadside country cabins where Dennis spent idyllic childhood family vacations, evolved into her iconic ’80s architectural models of tourist cabins, tiled subway station rest rooms, and related installations ...see the entire review in the print version of July/August's Sculpture magazine.

Donna Dennis, Little Tube House and the Night Sky, 2015. Masonite, wood, metal, rubber, plastic, vinyl and acrylic paint, incandescent and LEDs, and sound, 94.5 x 153 x 113 in.
New York and Ghent, New York: Alain Kirili - Hionas Gallery and Art Omi
by Joan Pachner
The lyricism of postwar Matisse and the muscularity of postwar American art are often viewed as opposite ends of the aesthetic spectrum. Alain Kirili’s recent work, shown at two different venues, implicitly addresses this polarity. He first explored this path in 1978, when he began incorporating wire into abstractly modeled terra-cotta volumes. A few years ago, twisted wire and rubber works revealed a fertile re-engagement with gestural abstraction, as Kirili moved away from the totemic and volumetric creations that had defined his work for the past two decades. His recent creations hover between two and three dimensions. Linear iron arcs, twisted and hammered by the artist when they were red-hot from the forge, trace richly textured lines on the wall with the casual feeling of a drawing on paper and magically convey Kirili’s love for Matisse and Picasso, as well as David Smith, Jackson Pollock, and American jazz. ...see the entire review in the print version of July/August's Sculpture magazine.

Alain Kirili, The Wave (detail), 2015. Forged iron, 58 ft. long.
Düsseldorf: Tomás Saraceno - Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, K21 Ständehaus
by Mark S. Price
Tiny figures teeter and bounce amid looming, massive spheres. Easy to miss from the floor of the Stände­haus’s vast atrium, the incongruous drama flits against a faceted glass roof more than 75 feet overhead. Triangular roof panes recall a Buck­minster Fuller geodesic dome, as well as his musings on livable environments. But as critic Ronald Jones points out, Tomás Saraceno can be distinguished from earlier futurists because he aligns divergent realms of expertise and industrial materials with a scalable vision to create physically accessible environments. The (real) aerialists and props populating In Orbit recall images of astronauts, both fictional and real, maneuvering outside their capsules in empty space. Only an artist as imaginative as Saraceno, with wide-ranging scientific interests and an awareness of technological possibilities, can so disorient and satisfy us in this age when fantasy-themed parks have raised participatory expectations to absurdly high levels. Curious museumgoers ascended to the uppermost balustrade ringing the atrium. Arriving at eye level with the space walkers, they realized that even the clumsiest participant could not fall from the outstretched layers of net ...see the entire review in the print version of July/August's Sculpture magazine.

Tomás Saraceno, In Orbit, 2013. Steel wire and 8-meter spheres, installation view.
Barcelona: Carlos Bunga - Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA)
by John Gayer
Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) Commissioning contemporary art for a historical space always risks a vacuous result. This thought lingered in the back of my mind when I went to see Carlos Bunga’s three-part installation in the Convent dels Àngels at the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA), but it quickly evaporated. His discerning interventions could not have been less glib. In fact, they functioned as a lever to promote reflection on issues ranging from the complex’s evolving visual, material, spatial, and functional characteristics to the idiosyncrasies of the built environment and the continuing evolution of the urban fabric. The Gothic-style nave contained the most visually dramatic part of the exhibition. Here, Bunga assembled what appeared to be the ghost of a majestic pre-existing structure. Slapped together out of nothing more than sheets of corrugated cardboard, plastic packing tape, and house paint, the columns and wall panels not only soared up to the ribbed vaults of the ceiling, but also seemed to pass through that delimitation. Observant viewers also noticed the video Espacio invisible (Invisible Space) playing on a pair of small monitors tucked into an out- of-the-way corner ...see the entire review in the print version of July/August's Sculpture magazine.

Carlos Bunga, installation view of "Capella," 2015-16.

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