International Sculpture Center
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December 2018
Vol. 37 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.

Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum - Ridgefield, Connecticut: Jessi Reaves
Through January 13, 2019
Jessi Reaves,
installation view of Kitchen Arrangement. Reaves's sculptures impersonate functional domestic objects--sofas, chairs, ottomans, tables, bookcases, lamps, cabinets, and coat racks-- imaginatively deconstructing existing designs and envisioning new prototypes. Unlikely unions of materials, including steel, driftwood, sawdust, zippers, plywood, wearable fabrics, and car fenders, endow these charismatic, almost anthropomorphic forms with a range of formal temperaments, from the shapely and sensuous to the misshapen, dissected, and contorted. Riffing on well-known modern design masters, such as Charles and Ray Eames, Noguchi, and Sottsass, Reaves goes a step further, rejecting mid-century polish in favor of an eccentric craftsmanship rooted in process and a sculptural/conceptual approach to function. In "Kitchen Arrangement," she reinterprets the everyday and aspirational necessities that define the (stereotypically feminine) heart of the home, destabilizing homogeneous, mass-market expectations of seating, cabinetry, appliances, and lighting.

Web site

Jessi Reaves, installation view of "Kitchen Arrangement."
Frist Center for the Visual Arts - Nashville: Do Ho Suh
Through January 6, 2019
Do Ho Suh, Basin, Apartment
A, 348 West 22nd Street, New York,
NY 10011, USA. Suh's installations blend the monumental and the transient to capture the emotional tensions of displacement: belonging while being alien, being home while longing for "home." His architectural sculptures start "from a reflection on space, especially personal space--not only a physical one, but an intangible, metaphorical, and psychological one." That identification of self with place infuses not only the spaces we call home, but also the details-- those objects and bits of hardware that we handle daily. Closely observed fabric renditions of sinks, toilets, latch sets, and hinges, removed from their context, isolated, and displayed as "Specimens," elevate ordinary items into uncanny familiars, emphasizing their intimate contact with the life around them. Suh's objects may record the specificities of his life, but their nostalgic resonance is universal. Rendered in gossamer jewel tones, these ghostly doppelgängers stitch together the self as memory. They also add up to a conceptual salvage yard, paying homage to the character of place beyond the self, recording buildings, ornaments, and artifacts that will soon dissolve into the past.

Web site

Do Ho Suh, Basin, Apartment A, 348 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011, USA.
MSU Broad - East Lansing, Michigan: David Lamelas
Through January 6, 2019
David Lamelas,
Untitled (Falling Wall).A pioneer of conceptual art and a key member of the Argentinean avant-garde during the 1960s, Lamelas believes that artworks have their own consciousness, with an extended life beyond their creation and initial site of presentation--they exist, in other words, as ideas that evolve and adapt to different conditions. "Fiction of a Production" focuses on sculptures and site-specific works that analyze and deconstruct architectural space, blurring the lines between art and architecture and repositioning sculpture as a relationship between space, place, and time. From early sculptures created in the 1960s through reconstructions adapted to respond to the Broad's Zaha Hadid-designed building, the works in this show all reveal the activity of their making, engaging time as a sculptural material.

Web site

David Lamelas, Untitled (Falling Wall).
El Museo del Barrio - New York: Liliana Porter
Through January 27, 2019
Liliana Porter, Forced Labor
(Sweeping Woman). Porter's sometimes unsettling images and installations explore the conflicting boundaries between fact and fiction, blending metaphysical Surrealism with the magic realism of Lewis Carroll, Franz Kafka, and Jorge Luis Borges. Her spatial "situations," which may be realized as stagings, photographs, or films, bring together a pantheon of little characters-- Elvis Presley, Che Guevara, Jesus, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Pinocchio, Alice, toy soldiers, piggy banks, rubber ducks, and Benito Juárez--in sardonic confrontations that turn the lightweight aesthetic of kitsch into an expression of philosophical heft. "Other Situations," her first New York museum show in more than 25 years, features works created from 1973 to 2018, including examples from the recent "Forced Labor" series in which ordinary figurines make radical statements about contemporary conditions. Set against nondescript, infinite backdrops, Porter's flea-market artifacts engage in alternately urgent, absurd, and futile activities without beginning or end. Second-hand versions of Sisyphus, they are forever doomed to enact the stupidities of life in a culture that can't distinguish substance from spectacle, importance from irrelevance.

Web site

Liliana Porter, Forced Labor (Sweeping Woman).
Museum of Contemporary Art - Denver: Tara Donovan
Through January 27, 2019
Tara Donovan, Untitled (Mylar).Donovan bases each of her phenomenologically charged installations on the physical properties and structural capabilities of a single accumulated everyday material. In a leap from the mundane to the miraculous, she responds to the texture, density, mass, and size of everything from electrical cables, paper plates, straws, and straight pins to roofing felt, index cards, and toothpicks, building large quantities of individual components into distinctive forms. Layered, twisted, piled, or clustered with almost viral repetition, her work grows via processes that mimic those of the natural world while seeming to defy the laws of nature. "Fieldwork," which brings together works from the last 20 years, demonstrates how repetitive labor, order, and structure can lead to the unpredictable and the aweinspiring.

Web site

Tara Donovan, Untitled (Mylar).
National Gallery of Art - Washington, DC: Rachel Whiteread
Through January 13, 2019
Whiteread, Ghost, Ghost II.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, bathtubs, 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. In addition to intimate domestic sculptures, monumental casts, and works on paper (which Whiteread thinks of as "a diary"), the NGA version of this touring show features a special section devoted to the restoration of Ghost (her first architectural scale work) and the history of its original, new cast-paper works made from piles of shredded personal documents, and choice selections from her remarkable collection of treasures rescued from the streets of London.

Web site

Rachel Whiteread, Ghost, Ghost II.
New Museum - New York: Sarah Lucas
Through January 20, 2019
Sarah Lucas, Me Bar Stool.Lucas's provocative sculptures exalt in coarse visual puns, common vulgarities, and a defiant, bawdy humor. Created from an idiosyncratic mix of everyday materials, including worn furniture, clothing, pantyhose, fruit and vegetables, newspapers, cigarettes, cars, resin, plaster, and light fittings, their grungy, sometimes haphazard appearance only reinforces a serious and complex subject matter. Lucas makes sculpture of and from the human body-- a time-bound, decaying object that requires maintenance and care-- and her quasi-narrative scenarios question gender definitions and defy macho culture. As she puts it, "With only minor adjustments, a provocative image can become confrontational, converted from an offer of sexual service into a castration image." "Au Naturel," her first American survey exhibition, features more than 150 works--30 years worth of blatant, naked truths. These surreal hybrids and fragments emphasize how far our representations of sexuality and gender have progressed, and how far they haven't, challenging artistic as well as social proprieties in pursuit of a more equitable balance in human relations.

Web site

Sarah Lucas, Me Bar Stool.
Whitechapel Gallery - London: Elmgreen & Dragset
Through January 13, 2019
Elmgreen & Dragset, The
Whitechapel Pool.A collaborative team since 1995, Elmgreen & Dragset use their installations, performances, and largescale environments (particularly the "Powerless Structures") to challenge architectural and social norms, revealing the mechanisms of ideological control behind even the simplest arrangements of walls, ceilings, entrances, and exits. "This Is How We Bite Our Tongue" combines a survey of their emotionally astute figurative sculptures with a new commission that foregoes the surreal terrain of so many of their largescale stagings in favor of grim reality. Devoid of water, with grimy tiles and peeling plaster, The Whitechapel Pool--complete with a fictional backstory that charts its rise during a time of philanthropic public-mindedness and subsequent fall under today's politically sanctioned austerity-- offers a heartfelt protest against the gentrification of London's East End (just one casualty of the selfish impulse shaping cities today). Private, or semi-private, is the new public: genuinely free and open spaces, whether libraries, recreation centers, or parks, are quickly becoming extinct. Deliberately starved by neglect, these last bastions of the commons are edging toward the fate of Elmgreen & Dragset's Pool: reduced to a historic afterthought in a luxury spa hotel.

Web site

Elmgreen & Dragset, The Whitechapel Pool.

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