International Sculpture Center
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September 2016
Vol. 35 No. 6

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.

Castello di Rivoli, Turin: Giovanni Aselmo
Through September 25, 2016
Over the past 40 years, Anselmo has produced a body of sculptural work bridging poetics and physics. Like many artists who emerged in the 1960s under the banner of Arte Povera, he devoted himself to finding a new vocabulary of three-dimensional form. His language, however, goes beyond physical materials in themselves to tap into the latent sculptural possibilities of natural energies. Granite, iron, cotton, plant matter, dirt, and light reveal the allpervasive character of unseen forces, including magnetic fields, electromagnetic waves, and gravity, because “energy exists beneath the most varied of appearances and situations.” This dialogue between visible and invisible, material and immaterial, makes his work as pertinent as ever today. Channeling the liveliness of real life keeps the energy circulating through his projects, which retain a state of openness and potential change—never crystallized into an inert object or series of things. Conceived in close collaboration with Anselmo, this exhibition of new and earlier works creates a unique interpretive path through the museum in relation to the apparent motion of the sun.

Web site:

Giovanni Anselmo, Installation view of “Mentre la mano indica, la luce focalizza, nella gravitazione universale si interferisce, la terra si orienta, le stelle si avvicinano di una spanna in più…”.
Fondazione Prada, Venice: Theaster Gates
Through September 25, 2016
Gates, whose practice embraces performance, installation, and urban interventions, has devoted his career to the architectural and social rejuvenation of his South Chicago neighborhood. The campaign began in 2006, when he adopted an abandoned house on S. Dorchester Avenue as his home and studio, fixing it up with recycled and repurposed materials. His efforts, reinforced by a team of local collaborators, then expanded to other nearby buildings, reinvented as alternative cultural spaces and aesthetic expressions, and elaborate architectural displacements between Chicago and cities around the world. More than simple rehabs, these complex projects resonate with lived process and poetic exchange, symbolically mending one neglected cultural history with another. “True Value” brings together a selection of existing works (assemblages of resonant everyday items such as fire hoses used against civil rights activists and gym floors from derelict schools that speak not only for themselves, but also for social realities) and new commissions, including the title work, which recreates an abandoned neighborhood hardware store.

Web site:

Theaster Gates, Halsted Hardware Store.

The George Economou Collection, Marousi, Greece: David Hammons
Through September 30, 2016
In 1986, Hammons—already an art star known for his unpredictable formal and conceptual brilliance—told an interviewer that he couldn’t “stand art.” His objects have always denied accepted codes of “Art,” with the exception of one: for Hammons, art is about symbols, and “outrageously magical things happen when you mess around with a symbol.” From the beginning of his career in the aftermath of the Watts riots, he has treated race and class like readymades, found objects that carry their own connotations but open themselves to endless, subtle (and not so subtle) redefinition. “Give Me a Moment,” almost a second survey after his retrospective earlier this year at New York’s Mnuchin Gallery, features a wide selection of rarely seen and familiar works, beginning with a masterpiece of the late-’60s “Body Prints” series and spanning the entire range of his ironic, witty, and downright scathing assemblages made of everything from greasy bags and barbecue bones to broken records, hair gathered in Harlem barbershops, skid-row wine bottles, sweatshirt hoods, Afro-kitsch, and shrouded mirrors. More recent works link inner city and suburban aspirations, poverty and wealth colliding in dizzying displays of self-delusion and violence.

Web site:

David Hammons, Orange is the New Black.
Kunstmuseum Basel, Basel: Reinhardt Mucha
Through October 16, 2016
Monumental, severe, and mysterious, Mucha’s sculpture treats the past with almost clinical detachment. Abstraction is governed by order, rigor, and meticulous craftsmanship, not emotion, encapsulating large chunks of late 19th- and early 20th-century German history through carefully cut-out pieces of walls and floors, their many layers mounted together and placed inside sleek, classicizing compartments of glass and metal. These framing devices can function as vitrines, displaying samples for scientific study, or as Modernist shrines, holding relics that impart the psychological weight of place and history. Mucha’s approach perhaps derives from the example of his longtime studio in Düsseldorf, which was once occupied by a railway supply company, which followed a pipeline construction company, which followed a carriage factory. Like this site, his works have many lives and meanings—not only in their materials, but also in their configurations over time. This show focuses on Frankfurter Block, an expansive, evolving installation that, in its current iteration, unites 12 works originally created between 1981 and 2014.

Web site:

Reinhardt Mucha, Frankfurter Block
Middelheim Museum, Antwerp: Peter Rogiers
Through September 18, 2016
Rogiers first came to widespread attention with Degas Piece (1995), a perverse, Franksteinian variation on Little Dancer Aged Fourteen rendered in polyester and animal skin, her roughly stitched sutures tracing torn tendons in a body tortured beyond its limits. Wayward strangeness has continued to characterize his work, which morphs between the human, the animal, and the vegetal. Neither representational nor quite abstract—and rejecting any and all trends—his creatures pile Futurism, Surrealism, sci-fi, and fairy tales onto a shifting foundation of Mannerist distortion and trans - formation. Alternately threatening and tantalizing, these enigmatic, brilliantly crafted forms trade stasis for metamorphosis, shape-shifting with every change of perspective. In “Cluster,” Rogiers combines his own work from the last 20 years with less well-known selections from the Middelheim Museum’s collection. Presented on large pedestals indoors and out, these tableaux bend the history of art to their own ends, redrawing the boundaries between mainstream and marginal, originality and convention, good and bad taste.

Web site:

Peter Rogiers, installation view of “Cluster.”
Museum Tinguely, Basel: Michael Landy
Through September 25, 2016
Countless artists of anarchic bent have found inspiration in Tinguely’s example of kinetic instability and subversive auto-destruction, not least Landy, who has translated these principles into searing performances and installations—particularly Break Down (2001) in which he painstakingly catalogued 7,227 personal possessions and then destroyed them all in public, assembly-line style, assisted by 10 workers: a radical statement that may have cost him a Turner Prize nomination. The co-curator of an important 2009 Tinguely exhibition at Tate Modern, Landy finds a perfect temporary home here for his monumental, kinetic critiques of consumer culture. Though not all of his works are as physically (and emotionally) devastating as Break Down, which is memorialized in the show with a list of every lost item, they never lack critical edge. From Market (1990) stalls devoid of goods to a Scrapheap Services (1996) cleaning company that cleared two years’ worth of artistmade paper dolls, to a Credit Card Destroying Machine (2010) dispersing drawings and the moving miracle tricksters in Saints Alive (2010–13), Landy exposes the inner workings of those invisible systems that manipulate our lives and desires. The real subject of “Out of Order” isn’t his machines, but the economic, political, and cultural machinations that pull our strings, including the media, the target of his most recent work, Breaking News.

Web site:

Michael Landy, Multi-Saint
Palazzo Vecchio/ Piazza della Signoria/ Forte di Belvedere, Florence: Jan Fabre
Through October 2, 2016
Artist, playwright, and stage director, Fabre explores the border between reality and dreams, creating fantasy works that frequently descend into nightmare. His bizarre mix of animal and human metamorphoses, unusual and uncanny materials (particularly jewel beetle wings), and eye for the theatrical tableau reveal a world difficult to measure by conventional artistic standards. His installations range from the stunningly gorgeous to the chillingly disturbing—effects made all the more visceral by a seamless interlocking of borrowed and experienced images. “Spiritual Guards” features more than 100 bronze and wax sculptures, as well as performance works, including two new commissions. Installed within three centers of Florentine political power—contested sites defined, appropriated, and redefined during the struggles between the republic and the Medici oligarchy—Fabre’s mythical creations, from medieval visions to contemporary capitalist illusions, from quasireligious fanatics to post-scientific skeptics, find a sympathetic home in the remnants of a world where symbolism pulsated with the power to dictate reality. Joining two heroic tyrannicides—Michelangelo’s David and Donatello’s Judith—a new version of The man who measures the clouds sums up Fabre’s project, offering a portrait of the artist as guardian and visionary, mediator between heaven and earth, and defender of imagination and freedom.

Web site:

Vito Acconci, Jan Fabre, The man who conducts the stars.
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam: Giuseppe Penone
Through October 2, 2016
Penone’s insights into the connections between nature and culture evolve from close observation of the rules governing growth and form, but take unexpected twists as he explores “vegetal man and anthropomorphized nature.” Natural materials, including clay, stone, leaves, roots, acacia thorns, tree trunks, earth, and even metal, express an animistic symbolism of correspondences as tree trunks transform into bodies, leaves into skin, skin into maps, and eyes into water and air. This indoor and outdoor exhibition encapsulates his sensuous, phenomenological approach, featuring 25 works from his long and productive career, including the brand-new Vene di pietra, tra i rami, which forms a disconcerting study in balance, and the Janus-faced confrontation between Spine d’acacia and Pelle di grafite-fronte.

Web site:

Giuseppe Penone, Vene di pietra, tra i rami.
Sonneveld House, Rotterdam: Eva Rothschild
Through September 18, 2016
Rothschild may still not be a household name, but in 2009 she met the challenge of the Duveens Commission with a dramatic and ambitious work that colonized the neoclassical galleries at the heart of Tate Britain. Though Cold Corners possessed minimal materiality, it stretched to nearly the full length of the space, undermining 70 meters of grandiloquent and rational architectonics with energetic chaos. A Gated Community, her new multi-part installation at Sonneveld House, like all of her works, explores unexpected relationships between volume and mass, surface and structure. Placed throughout the Dutch Functionalist interior, larger interventions create an alternative architecture, turning mundane domesticity into an openended experience, while smaller, more discreet pieces replace family photos and ornaments to give a heightened awareness of social codes and structures. Defying prescribed routes and controlled behaviors, these interpolations create opportunities and choices, re-casting visitors as explorers who must attempt to navigate an anarchic, topsy-turvy terrain.

Web site:

Eva Rothschild, A Gated Community.

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