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Dec 2017
Vol. 36 No. 10

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.

500 Capp Street Foundation - San Francisco: Michael E. Smith
Through February 3, 2018
Michael E. Smith, UntitledSmith's sculptures are made from everyday things that can be found on any street or at any dump-- household items, dead animals, and organic materials--and yet he manages to invest this worthless detritus with atmosphere and power. Hoses, basketballs, bathtubs, toilets, oatmeal, bees, and articles of clothing come together to almost alchemical effect, forcing us to question what precisely we are looking at and why. Coalescing in pared-down collections of materials that suggest the fundamental need for nourishment, warmth, and protection, his assemblages suggest demolished buildings or abandoned lots, redolent of transience and mortality (though not without morbid humor and sympathy). Filled with PVC foam, hardened with resin, or covered in canvas, Smith's transformed debris inhabits another dimension, an alternative zone in which respect is restored and natural processes can redeem even the worst of manmade horrors. His new intervention takes on the entirety of the David Ireland House, spinning a darkly funny scenario within the frame of three Ireland stage set paintings. In keeping with Ireland's practice, Smith's brutal, deadpan economy exposes the life span of objects while expressing the pessimism that lurks just beneath the surface of absurdity.

Web site 500cappstreet.org


Michael E. Smith, Untitled
Center for Contemporary Arts - Santa Fe: Tom Joyce
Through December 31, 2017
Tom Joyce, Divided IV From Joyce's earliest work (forging agricultural tools out of iron handme- downs) to his recent monumental sculptures made of industrial castoffs, he has been inspired by iron as the "offspring" of something that came before: "I'm fascinated by the complex lineage of iron, its connection to a place, to a time, and to a use. It's a piece of sculpture now, but it's also a store of material, and in my eyes, always tied to its origins." "Everything at Hand" celebrates a decades-long interaction with the physical properties and meanings of a metal crucial to human and planetary survival, focusing on Joyce's ongoing investigations into tools and technology. Forged and cast iron sculptures join iron-inspired photographs, videos, charred drawings, and mixed-media installations, as well as several experimental bodies of work in new materials.

Web site www.ccasantafe.org



Tom Joyce, Divided IV
Crow Collection of Asian Art - Dallas: Sopheap Pich
Through January 7, 2018
Sopheap Pich, Rang Phnom Flower 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, these intricate works combine his training as a painter with the spatial conceptualization of a sculptor, creating threedimensional 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, while the subject matter ranges from lyrical evocations of the landscape to subtle indictments of Khmer Rouge crimes against the Cambodian people. "Hidden Nature" focuses on Rang Phnom Flower (2015), his most ambitious singleform sculpture to date. The 25-footlong construction traces the cultural interweavings that brought the cannonball tree (rang phnom in Khmer) from the New World to Southeast Asia, where it became associated with the sal tree under which the Buddha was born. Vastly oversized, Pich's tree evokes the generative power of nature through a proliferating structural geometry that contains the macroscopic within the microscopic.

Web site www.crowcollection.org


Sopheap Pich, Rang Phnom Flower

Institute of Contemporary Art - Boston: Mark Dion
Through December 31, 2017
Mark Dion, <em>Memory Box</em> (detail) For 30 years, Dion has explored the crossroads of art and science, vision and the production of knowledge, collecting and modes of presentation. Playing various roles, he takes a humorous, yet critical look at the relationship of nature and culture -- though he says that his work has become increasingly "macabre and laced with dusky pessimism." From exploring the construction of history, the classification of objects and ideas, and the transformation of natural expressions into culture, he has moved on to more actively directed investigations, all aimed at one pressing question: How have past constructions of nature determined current environmental politics and public policy? "Misadventures of a 21st-Century Naturalist," his first U.S. survey, brings together a wide selection of his celebrated digs, curiosity cabinets, sculptures, and participatory public projects, all challenging institutional power and normative constructions of the natural world. As the laws of order shift in the face of new juxtapositions and conclusions, Dion sees museums once again playing a disruptive role as a "powder keg of imagination." His work, which salutes grassroots activism while underscoring the need for strong policy decisions, proves that curiosity, particularly artistic curiosity, is essential, channeling frustration and anger into prototypes for action.

Web site www.icaboston.org

Mark Dion, Memory Box (detail)
Kunstalle Wien, Vienna: Florian Hecker
Through January 14, 2018
Florian Hecker, <em>Synopsis</em> In Hecker's work, visual art and (electronic) music form a unity in order to dramatize space, time, and self-perception. Sculptural elements double as sources of sound or serve to modify, amplify, and steer acoustic sensations within space. Purely subjective experiences, his installations shift and vary depending on the listener, according to each individual's physical location and personal points of reference. "Hallucination, Perspective, Synthesis" features a new composition that opens up a gray area within different conventions of musical psychology and psycho - acoustics, disrupting the coherence of experience. Inside this zone, objects exist in the same place simultaneously, events obliterate space, and various streams of experience diverge, merge, and fragment.

Web site www.kunsthallewien.at


Florian Hecker, Synopsis
Künstlerhaus - Graz, Austria: Ute Müller
Through January 25, 2018
Ute Müller, Untitled Müller deals seriously with the language of materials. In her delicately harmonious work, ambivalence takes center stage as an aspect of the search for form and anti-form. Whether casts of negative shapes that resolve into recognizable objects on close inspection or arrangements of found objects that have been slightly altered and thus charged with resonance, her sculptures keep their secrets. Opaque and openended, fragmented formations skillfully play with history, materials, and reference while wrestling with form, idea, and presentation.

Web site www.km-k.at


Ute Müller, Untitled.
KW Institute for Contemporary Art - Berlin: Lucy Skaer
Through January 7, 2018
Lucy Skaer, La Chasse
In 2009, when Skaer was nominated for the Turner Prize, she remarked, "I'm interested in a state of betweenness, and that state you find if one thing transforms to another." Her work--everything from the clandestine housing of live moth and butterfly pupae inside criminal courtrooms to Modernist sculptural icons recast in coal dust--explores this notion in a variety of ways, conjoining abstraction and materiality in resonant hybrids that are both of and out of time, intimately private and openly public. For her, history becomes a liminal site, particularly the real and mythologized past of England. "Available Fonts" continues her scrutiny of conventional methods of classification and production, blending a selection of works from the last decade with new commissions to create a single large-scale tableau in which reworked sculptures transform into representations of animals that enact a contemporary version of the Livre de chasse. Like all of Skaer's works, this new project rejects the understanding of artworks as finite things. Inserted into an already existing chain of material and conceptual conversions, each sculpture temporarily manifests one out of countless latent possibilities before being consumed to give birth to the next.

Web site www.kw-berlin.de


Lucy Skaer, La Chasse
Moderna Museet - Malmo, Sweden: Ulf Rollof
Through January 14, 2018
Ulf Rollof, Lifeboat
Since the 1980s, Rollof has explored a multitude of different media, including sculpture, works on paper, moving images, experimental paintings, mechanical installations, and photography. In each of these modes, he creates in dialogue with his experience at the moment, though the resulting works transcend private preoccupation. From boundaries-- between organic and artificial, rational and occult, one nation and another--to time and movement, and oppositional pairings such as hot and cold, life and death, man and animal, his work touches on universal concerns through existential and physical incident just beyond sight. "Urgent" features more than 20 works from the last 40 years, ranging from early watercolors to photographs, from shooting and lightbox paintings to large-scale installations, including the never-before-shown Angel Trap, a monumental suspended landing strip. Ripe for re-evaluation, Rollof's work remains relevant today with its focus on learning to accept the inescapable while re-evaluating and breaking free from restrictive conditions and beliefs.

Web site www.modernamuseet.se

Ulf Rollof, Lifeboat
Museum Folkwang - Essen, Germany: Catharina van Eetvelde
Through January 14, 2018

Catharina van Eetvelde, ilk.egg.ellipse.erg_
preparation: contrapunctus: <chorus>
in which >pichet klunchun. erg_doc.,
egg.erg_doc van Eetvelde approaches drawing as a continual process, an ongoing way of understanding and engaging with the world. Expanding beyond paper, she has embraced vectors as a way of collapsing time and space in order to map relationships with and among the most unlikely combinations of elements. Rejecting spatial, temporal, and dimensional boundaries, she creates animated films, collages, and assemblages that cultivate the fragile, thread-thin connections binding individual things into a whole. Materials have played a key role in her associative choreography since 2011 (following interdisciplinary research related to the Fukushima disaster). Each pin, each cable, each fragment inhabits a specified place within an equilibrium of existing and non-existing lines. Like an anthropologist, van Eetvelde investigates how the scientific mindset shapes our lives and our conceptions. Setting the chaotic organization of art against the authority of science, she seeks nothing less than the "ilk"--the "sameness," as the word originally meant--between all things and all living beings.

Web site www.museum-folkwang.de


Catharina van Eetvelde, ilk.egg.ellipse.erg_ preparation: contrapunctus: <chorus> in which >pichet klunchun. erg_doc., egg.erg_doc

Museum Morsbroich - Leverkusen, Germany: Miroslaw Bałka
Through January 7, 2018
Miroslaw Bałka, Bon Fire Translating the language of Minimalism and conceptualism into breath - taking metaphorical scenarios, Bałka transforms personal experience and historical details into fundamental existential questions. In the mid- 1980s, he graduated from the conservative Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw with a provocative body of work referencing Solidarity's struggle against Soviet repression and followed it with related figurative sculptures. Although he soon replaced representation with an abstract icon - ography related to the body through measurement and proportion, his abiding concerns have remained constant, and he continues to explore how history shapes and governs the present. "Die Spuren/The Traces" brings together interrelated soundand site-specific works connected by an extreme reduction of formal elements, which exist only to represent emptiness. The viewer's experience-- visual, aural, and physical--forms the center point of a resonant dynamic that twists interpretative frames into unfamiliar and disturbing shapes. Conscious evocations of the past embodied in materials (some literal like ash, hair, salt; others symbolic like color-coded threads) demonstrate Bałka's belief that history can neither be avoided nor securely grasped--an ambiguous stance that leads to fraught and unsettling questions about the body and its limitations, memory, and the space between looking and knowing.

Web site www.museum-morsbroich.de


Miroslaw Bałka, Bon Fire
New Museum - New York: Petrit Halilaj
Through January 7, 2018
Petrit Halilaj, installation view of Halilaj's installations, drawings, and films translate memory into the changed reality of the present day by giving it a new context and an updated, often magnified, meaning. With subtle empathy, he examines such charged issues as homeland and identity through events in southeastern Europe, particularly the Kosovo War. Though based in personal experience, his works approach the universal, their small narratives growing outward into a larger materialization of the world. Like the stories, his materials are simple: earth, straw, wood, concrete, and rubble from his destroyed home. But Halilaj also draws on exhibits from Kosovo's defunct Natural History Museum, re-staging parts of the dismantled collection as alternative repositories of history, population, and culture. His new project begins in Runik, the city where he grew up and the site of an early Neolithic settlement. Significant archaeological finds, uncovered in 1968 and 1983, are now divided between several institutions in two countries, many of them moldering in storage. "RU" makes the Runik finds publicly accessible for the first time, re-creating more than 500 objects and fragments as birds in an imagined landscape. In this alternative museum, artifacts come to life, breaking national boundaries and static taxonomies to reimagine the past for the future.

Web site www.newmuseum.org

Petrit Halilaj, installation view of "RU"
Smithsonian American Art Museum - Washington, DC: Thomas Wilfred
Through January 7, 2018
Thomas Wilfred, Unit #86, from the Clavilux Junior (First Home Clavilux Model) series In 1919, a decade before television, Wilfred (1889–1968), a musician, inventor, and co-founder of the Theosophical group the Prome theans, began experimenting with light as an artistic medium, building objects that could produce kaleidoscopic sequences of abstract colored forms. After early concert performances of his Clavilux (an organ generating "light played by key"), he committed to an increasingly democratic vision of this "eighth art," creating home models in which sturdy tables and cabinets divulged spiritual mysteries that could be "programmed" by users. (In an enticing bit of home-entertainment-that-mighthave- been, he took his table model to Sears in 1933; the Depression killed the deal.) Though Wilfred's experiments won the respect of Alfred Barr, Jackson Pollock, László Moholy-Nagy, and Katherine Dreier, his analogue works (with run-times of several minutes to over a day) proved difficult to maintain; after a heyday in the psychedelic era, they were relegated to storage and forgotten by the '80s. "Lumia: Thomas Wilfred and the Art of Light," restores this quirky DIY engineer and artist to his rightful place in the history of American Modernism with 15 newly restored light sculptures. True Albertian windows, these nondescript objects and large wall screens enframe the visionary--ethereal vapors, cosmic cycles, and jewellike subterranean chambers--within the mundane, transporting anyone who gazes into their depths to otherworldly realms.

Web site americanart.si.edu


Thomas Wilfred, Unit #86, from the Clavilux Junior (First Home Clavilux Model) series
Stadtgalerie Saarbrücken - Saarbrücken, Germany: Helga Griffiths
Through January 14, 2018
Helga Griffiths, Turbulant Souvenirs - Memories II Griffiths's multimedia installations explore the thresholds and limits of human perception through artistic and scientific means, pushing the boundaries between us and our environment. Her works, including a spectacular flight across the glacieresque landscape of her brain created in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, are based on the concept of an "experiential space"--a multidimensional, multi-sensory space that conjures memories, feelings, and ideas in viewers based on visual, sonic, olfactory, and haptic stimuli that stem from the artist's own realm of experience. Griffiths's work often employs a neuroscientific approach to synesthesia, taking information that we perceive through one sense (sight or hearing) and transferring it to a different sense (smell). In this way, her installations function like creative sensory substitution devices, establishing an intuitive dialogue capable of transcending and expanding conventional experience.

Web site www.stadtgaleriesaarbruecken. de


Helga Griffiths, Turbulant Souvenirs - Memories II
Tate Britain - London: Rachel Whiteread
Through January 21, 2018
Rachel Whiteread, Untitled (One Hundred Spaces)Whiteread has spent almost 30 years cataloguing an inverse inventory of human life and relations, casting the space within and around objects. Set in plaster, resin, concrete, and rubber, her negative impressions of cupboards, tables, bath tubs, wash basins, beds, mattresses, stairways, rooms, and entire houses record the gaps between bodies and space-- simultaneously material and immaterial, they function like spirit sculptures, capturing emanations and memories invisible to the naked eye. This exhibition, her most substantial survey to date, ranges from her earliest sculptures, shown in 1988, to new works made especially for Tate Britain, including Chicken Shed, installed outside the gallery. In addition to intimate domestic sculptures and a special section devoted to works on paper (which Whiteread thinks of as "a diary"), the show also features some of her most important large-scale evocations of presence and absence, including Untitled (Book Corridors), Untitled (100 Spaces), and Untitled (Room 101), a cast of the BBC Broadcasting House room believed to be the model for "the worst thing in the world": Orwell's sinister Room 101 in 1984, where nightmares are made manifest.

Web site www.tate.org.uk


Rachel Whiteread, Untitled (One Hundred Spaces)
Tate Modern - London: Ilya and Emilia Kabakov
Through January 28, 2018
Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Not Everyone Will Be Taken into the FutureThough the Kabakovs don't believe that art can influence politics, they firmly maintain that it can change the "way we think, we dream, and we act." Their recent visions of The Strange City (Grand Palais, 2014) and The Dream City (Power Station of Art, 2015)--idealized environments that served as both manifestations of social institutions (and other botched human projects) and vessels for creative flight--took a markedly utopian turn, endeavoring to influence life and experience by asking visitors to "slow down in your real life, to call on your emotions, on your senses, and on your memories." "Not Everyone Will Be Taken Into the Future," on the other hand, returns to a bleaker, more dystopian world view, focusing on the failed utopias that have fueled their work from Ilya's early paintings, drawings, albums, and installations (made in Moscow before his immigration to the West in 1987) to the monumental collaborations that have occupied both artists since 1988. Melancholy and darkly wry fictions that mirror and distort reality (for better and worse), these immersive installations still manage to temper restriction and authority by opening an escape hatch through art, promising a safe haven (sometimes near and sometimes far in the distance), where creative dreaming offers refuge and rebellion.

Web site www.tate.org.uk


Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Not Everyone Will Be Taken into the Future
Walker Art Center - Minneapolis: Nairy Baghramian
Through February 4, 2018
Nairy Baghramian, Jupon SuspenduBaghramian's objects and site-responsive installations explore relationships between architecture, everyday objects, and the human body. Marking boundaries, transitions, and gaps in order to reconsider form and meaning within interior and exterior spaces, her works draw on dance, theater, and design to challenge definitions of sculpture. Disorienting exaggerations in scale combine with unlikely juxtapositions of materials-- steel, rubber, plastic, wax, and fabric-- and media to reflect on the legacy of the object in today's world. "Déformation Professionnelle" offers a self-critical, exploratory approach to the retrospective, presenting new sculptures that expand on and alter previous bodies of work--some revisiting rejected ideas, others pursuing formal variations. By "surveying the survey," Baghramian pushes the sculptor's task into new evolutionary territory in a deliberate "professional distortion" that lays bare artistic methodology--unpacking and interrogating the conceptual, physical, and social aspects of sculpturemaking today while analyzing how the commitment to artistic expertise has shaped her view of the world.

Web site www.walkerart.org


Nairy Baghramian, Jupon Suspendu
Walker Art Center - Minneapolis: Laure Prouvost
Through February 11, 2018
Laure Prouvost, From the SkyProuvost, winner of the 2013 Turner Prize, says that her work "is about blurring the boundary between fiction and reality…about digging deeply and, maybe, getting lost." A storyteller who seduces with sound and imagination, she has moved beyond specially staged films to fuse video, found objects, sculpture, and painting into encompassing, idiosyncratic realities that confound expectations. In rapid-fire successions of sound and image, Prouvost's beguiling narration alternates with spoken and written instructions that directly address participants. Switching between moments of contemplation and outbursts of euphoria, her journeys through time, fact, and fantasy unfold across disorienting spaces and paradoxical settings to trace the permutations of a gripping story. The point is to lure us into an abstracted, preverbal state of consciousness, where we can abandon what we think we know and rediscover the joy of (re)learning words and meanings. In conjunction with this new installation, Prouvost has collaborated on a performance work with choreographer Pierre Droulers and artist Sam Belinfante.

Web site www.walkerart.org


Laure Prouvost, From the Sky
Installation view of
Witte de With - Rotterdam: Ahmet Öğüt & Goshka Macuga
Through December 31, 2017
Installation view of Macuga and Öğüt, two of the most politically engaged artists working today, combine historical research with an interest in curatorial display strategies, seeking new ways of reconciling competing world views. Their large-scale projects often incorporate the work of other artists and thinkers (both living and dead), from Einstein and Marx to Angela Davis and Aaron Swartz. In this collaboration, they focus on the radical potentialities ignited by exchange across disciplines and cultures, drawing on Macuga's investigations of post-Soviet Poland and the second Iraq war (such as The Nature of the Beast [2010], a warroom-like rendering of the U.N. chamber housing Picasso's Guernica, whose pacifist message was notoriously covered up during Colin Powell's 2003 weapons of mass destruction speech) and Öğüt's Silent University (2012– ongoing), which engages refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants in the search for solutions to global problems. They also apply this activist approach to the art world: by examining their own practices, Macuga and Öğüt hope to demonstrate how the future of art lies in trust and dialogue.

Web site www.wdw.nl


Installation view of "Öğüt & Macuga: Episode 1"

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