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January/February 2018
Vol. 37 No. 1

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.

Baltimore Museum of Art - Baltimore: Annet Couwenberg
Through February 18, 2018
Annet Couwenberg, Deviation. Couwenberg's recent work embodies synthesis and relational thinking. In 2014, a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship brought her together with a specialist in vertebrate anatomy to study the skeletal composition and skin geometry of fish using new imaging technologies. The resulting work fuses patterns and structures found in aquatic life forms with traditional textiles and clothing items drawn from her Dutch heritage. In addition to fabric panels that pay homage to 17th-century Netherlandish damask production while updating its motifs with details derived from the natural world, art history, and personal references, "From Digital to Damask" features six chimerical sculptures that interweave surface and substructure into integral, complex wholes. Marrying digital production and handwork, these intricate forms take off in startling flights of fancy, teasing out striking correlations between the naturally baroque patterning of structural growth (where form always meets function) and the outlandishly impractical (and useless) concoctions of human fashion.

Web site www.artbma.org


Annet Couwenberg, Deviation. .
The Barnes Foundation - Philadelphia: Kiefer Rodin
Through March 12, 2018
Anselm Kiefer, Emanation. Dense and evocative in terms of materials (paint, organic matter, clay, ash, lead, and found objects) as well as sources (alchemical treatises, mythology, Jewish mysticism, and modern history), Kiefer's paintings, sculptures, and installations offer an almost endless palimpsest of discoveries and possible interpretations. The works in this show, including plaster sculptures and vitrines filled with molds, dried plants, stones, and fabric, venture into new terrain, guided by a sustained engagement with the sculptures and drawings of Auguste Rodin. In 2013, when Kiefer visited the storerooms of the Musée Rodin (filled with plaster casts and fragments of sculpted body parts), he was particularly struck by erotically charged drawings and Cathedrals of France (1914), Rodin's only book. These discoveries revealed unsuspected affinities, which are well explored in "Kiefer Rodin," a show that also includes rarely seen works by the Symbolist master. A shared fascination with architecture and ruins as stand-ins for humanity becomes quickly evident, but more importantly, the two artists treat artmaking as an ongoing process of reconfiguring, assembling, and disassembling that mirrors the natural cycle of life, death, and rebirth.

Web site www.barnesfoundation.org

Anselm Kiefer, Emanation.

Castello di Rivoli - Turin: Gilberto Zorio
Through February 18, 2018
Gilberto Zorio, Crogiuoli
(Crucibles). Like many artists who emerged in the 1960s under the banner of Arte Povera, Zorio has devoted himself to finding a new vocabulary of threedimensional form bridging visual poetics and physics. Unending fields of energy, his continually mutable works harness natural forces such as chemical reactions, fire, and magnetic attraction to enact alchemical transformations in materials. Held in a state of openness, his sculptures, which can be reformulated again and again, break free of fixity and never crystallize into inert objects or a series of mere things. Time, of course, becomes an essential collaborator in such works--only the passage of hours and days can fully realize their substantive conversions. Conceived in close collaboration with Zorio, this retrospective spans 50 years of exper - imentation, from important early works in his personal collection to new site-specific installations conceived for the Castello in which shifting light and shadow become as potently volatile as sulfur, lead, iron, and phosphorous.

Web site www.castellodirivoli.org

Gilberto Zorio, Crogiuoli (Crucibles).
HangarBicocca - Milan: Lucio Fontana
Through February 25, 2018
Lucio Fontana, Ambiente
spaziale. Though Fontana is best known for his slashed canvases, the Concetti spaziali formed only one part of a much broader investigation into spatial ideas that evolved from the most unlikely of precursors--his clay sculptures from the 1920s. More interested in process than subject matter, these writhing masses of energy aimed to liberate the sculptural surface from its confines, drawing it into real space. But Fontana (who first trained as a sculptor) would never be content simply alluding to or interacting within surrounding space--he had to shape, occupy, and mold it, crafting its form as though it were anobject. His groundbreaking Ambienti spaziali, initiated in 1949 along with the canvases, used new light-producing technologies (neon, UV, and television) to transform the solidity of existing architecture into radically expansive experiences of void and cosmos. Site-specific and ephemeral, these rooms, corridors, and labyrinths represent the most forward-looking expression of Fontana's Spatialist convictions. "Ambienti/Environ - ments" offers a rare opportunity to explore 10 of these reconstructed environments; as colors and forms unfold through time and space, and perceptual clarity unravels, the only certainty is that Fon tana's experiments in wonder appear radically prescient and familiar today, and no less compelling.

Web site www.hangarbicocca.org

Lucio Fontana, Ambiente spaziale.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden - Washington, DC: Ilya and Emilia Kabakov
Through March 4, 2018
Ilya and Emilia Kaba -
kov, The Largest Book in the World.The Kabakovs don't believe that art can influence politics, but they firmly maintain that it can change the "way we think, we dream, and we act." Responses to a dystopian world, their large-scale, immersive environments represent only a fraction of what the husband and wife team would make if they could. "Utopian Projects" fills in the gaps with more than 20 maquettes of realized and unrealized projects, including monuments, allegorical narratives, and architectural structures. Lovingly detailed in balsa wood (sometimes accompanied by moving parts, light, and sound), these tableaux transcend model status to operate as independent, Lilliputian dreamscapes. Like their largescale counterparts, the Kabakovs' miniatures create alternative worlds of private and shared imagination that shift ordinary perspectives, assumptions, and routines to look at life, in Ilya's words "from the sidelines, from some height, and even… as if you were dead."

Web site http://hirshhorn.si.edu

Ilya and Emilia Kaba - kov, The Largest Book in the World.
Hunter East Harlem Gallery - New York: Futurefarmers
Through February 4, 2018
Amalia Pica, Workshop (detail). There seems to be no limit to the range of projects produced by the art collective Futurefarmers. Over the last 23 years, their innovative practice has found compelling visual ways to "cultivate consciousness," using a signature blend of critical analysis and optimistic suggestion to tackle everything from the complicated paths of food-production networks and anti-war computer games to an on-line registry of unused arable land in San Francisco, lunchboxes that incorporate hydrogenproducing algae, and an "urban thinkery" modeled on the open forum of Simon the Shoemaker's Athens studio, where Socrates supposedly led discussions. Such peripatetic, collaborative, and of-the-moment experiential projects are scarcely the stuff of traditional retrospectives, so "Arrange" takes an appropriate Futurefarmers approach, creating a small ecosystem of interrelated themes in which art, science, design, and the environment intertwine. Reflecting the group's interest in organizational and cataloguing structures, the show treats art objects not only as relics of past projects, performances, and dialogues, but also as props/catalysts for future stories, interpretations, and actions.

Web site www.huntereastharlemgallery.org


Amalia Pica, Workshop (detail).
Institute of Modern Art - Brisbane, Australia: Amalia Pica
Through March 10, 2018
Amalia Pica, Workshop (detail).Using sculpture, film, and installation, Pica explores the goals of enunciation and the performative nature of thought. She has a particular fascination with communication breakdown: for instance, works based on deaf monologues and halting conversations "talk" about inadequacies in our ability to make contact--a point taken to absurd heights in a semaphore performance in which she spells out "babble," "blabber," and "yada yada yada." Her often participatory projects directly intervene in public life, staging and condensing moments of cultural intimacy and civic participation. "Please Open Hurry" extends her investigation of listening, misunderstanding, and translation into the realm of interspecies communication with two bodies of work created during residencies at the Gashaka-Gumti National Park in the rainforest of Nigeria and the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art in Colorado. The tools, communication skills, and social systems of chimpanzees inform these installations and sculptures, which demonstrate once again, just how little we differ from our closest relations. Web site www.ima.org.au

Amalia Pica, Workshop (detail).
The Menil Collection - Houston: Mona Hatoum
Through February 25, 2018
Mona Hatoum, installation
view of Terra Infirma.Hatoum transforms everyday domestic objects into uncanny sculptures that harbor a nagging sense of displacement, uncertainty, and conflict. No longer reassuring spaces of protection, her domestic territories subvert familiar forms such as chairs, beds, and kitchen implements while reconfiguring clean, Minimalist forms into ciphers of ambiguity and threat. In her surreal terrains, even the human body becomes strangely unfamiliar and disassociated. "Terra Infirma," her first major U.S. show in 20 years, brings together 30 cringeinducing sculptures and installations from the 1990s through the present, including Homebound, a room-size tableau of utensils and furnishings threaded together by a crackling wire of live electricity, and La Grande Broyeuse (Mouli-Julienne x 17), which morphs a vegetable slicer into a gargantuan instrument of torture. The Menil, with its important collection of Surrealist works, provides the perfect backdrop for this in-depth encounter with Hatoum's unruly objects, which stand at the crossroads where the ordinary transforms into the poetic and the political.

Web site www.menil.org

Mona Hatoum, installation view of "Terra Infirma."
Museum of Contemporary Art - Chicago: Michael Rakowitz
Through March 4, 2018
Michael Rakowitz, What Dust Will
Rise? Rakowitz thrives on contradiction, weaving together popular culture, history, and his personal experience as an Iraqi-American in an attempt to untangle the thorny mess of U.S./ Middle Eastern relations. His objects, installations, and performances (most of them presented in the public realm) focus on invisibility as a tool of propaganda and marginalization, providing missing context while instigating provocative cultural/ social collisions with the potential to reconcile rather than destroy. From paraSITE (customizable inflatable shelters for the homeless that tap into building HVAC systems) to Enemy Kitchen (a food truck serving Iraqi food prepared by refugee chefs assisted by U.S. veterans), his projects take a long view of reconciliation, building understanding one step at a time through personal encounters that counter hostility with hospitality. "Backstroke of the West," his first major museum survey (the resonant title comes from a Chinese bootleg mistranslation of Revenge of the Sith) features 10 key works, including a replica of the Ishtar Gate, made, like most of his objects, from recycled Iraqi food packaging and other detritus; The worst condition is to pass under a sword which is not one's own, a multi-part installation that reveals how Star Wars and Jules Verne fueled the ambitions of Saddam Hussein; and The invisible enemy should not exist, an ongoing effort to re-create hundreds of artifacts looted from the National Museum of Iraq. A related work, a 14-foot-high winged bull constructed from more than 3,000 date syrup cans (the original guarded Nineveh until it was destroyed by the Islamic State in 2015) will be installed on London's Fourth Plinth in March.

Web site www.mcachicago.org

Michael Rakowitz, What Dust Will Rise?.
MoMA PS1 - Queens, New York: Cathy Wilkes
Through March 11, 2018
Cathy Wilkes, Untitled. A 2008 Turner Prize nominee, Wilkes has raised eyebrows with her highly charged arrangements of commonplace items and personal artifacts. In She's Pregnant Again, a TV combines with a sink containing human hair, a half-naked mannequin, and a stroller in a tableau of almost audible judgment. Formally precise and essentially diaristic, Wilkes's work employs a difficult and coded visual language, making it what at least one critic has called the kind of contemporary art that "pundits pay deference to and that deep down nobody really likes." But uncompromising introspection is not an end in itself for Wilkes; as jarring as her work can be, it exerts a strong psychological pull that creates commonality and shared experience from isolation. Her archetypal approach to the rituals and banalities of daily life--the humiliations, disappointments, and brutalities--demonstrates the power behind what she calls the undefined "ancient force" of history and memory. This exhibition, her largest American museum show to date, presents 50 works from the last 20 years, some repurposed and recombined in an attempt to confound straight-line narratives of artistic development. Just as Wilkes throws off that critical crutch, she also rejects the typical framing and supports of exhibition display in favor of direct interaction, inviting viewers to wander through tableaux whose borders are as permeable and messy as life itself.

Web site http://momaps1.org

Cathy Wilkes, Untitled.
New York City - Ai Weiwei
Through February 11, 2018
Ai Weiwei, Bronx Shelter 2. Ai has been very busy recently--a level of activity that doesn't reflect well on the state of the world. He's covered a concert hall in refugee life jackets, made a related documentary film (Human Flow), participated in protest actions, and now he's issued a bittersweet love letter to the iconic city of immigration, defending basic human values in the face of rising racism, xenophobia, and nationalist withdrawal. Wittily scathing, the cages and gratings of "Good Fences Make Good Neighbors" reimagine the ominous security fence as something playful while spreading a message of menace to those who have never been corralled like cattle and can't imagine themselves on the wrong side of a barrier. That includes the current president, who is honored with a gold cage visible from Trump Tower--a fitting tribute to a man hell-bent on making this Gilded Age more profitable than the last. From Manhattan to Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the Bronx, Ai's interventions worm their way into the city's fabric, large-scale structures accompanied by lamppost banners and images of refugees in place of advertising. Putting a human face on the "problem" is a classic Ai strategy, as is the twist he gives to an intervention blocking the arch of the Washington Square Park monument. A cut-out silhouette of two figures pierces this implied prison, replacing constraint with freedom, antagonism with camaraderie: the question is how long the gap will remain open.

Web site www.publicartfund.org

Ai Weiwei, Bronx Shelter 2.
The Noguchi Museum - Long Island City, New York: Gonzalo Fonseca
Through March 11, 2018
Installation view of
A voracious polymath, Fonseca steeped himself in the natural sciences, linguistics, and history. Beginning in the 1960s, he translated that quest for knowledge into enigmatic stone sculptures. Intimate and monumental, child-like and archetypal, his complex fictions delve deep into the human past in pursuit of an abstract, universal vocabulary of forms. Like Adolph Gottlieb and fellow Uruguayan Joaquín Torres-García, Fonseca was fascinated by archaeology and pictographic systems of writing, hoping to access unmediated truth through direct symbols. Though the paintings of these artists are unmistakably Modernist productions, Fonseca's sculptures appear inextricably connected to an ancient world: his miniature temples/housing tenements, which resemble relics from some lost civilization, echo votive sculptures of buildings found everywhere from Latin America to the Mediterranean, Middle East, and Danube Valley. In a sense, Fonseca, who began his career as an architect, spent his entire life trying to reverseengineer the Tower of Babel and return to a prelapsarian world unsullied by the arbitrariness of representation; instead, he managed the opposite, building a protopostmodern laby rinth of delicately carved artifacts that defy interpretation.

Web site www.noguchi.org


Installation view of "Gonzalo Fonseca."
Sharjah Art Foundation - Sharjah, United Arab Emirates: Hassan Sharif
Through February 3, 2018
Hassan Sharif, Ladies and Gentlemen. A pioneer of conceptual art and experimental practice in the Middle East, Sharif, who died in 2016, ranged widely across materials and forms while exploring time, social action, and mathematical systems. Rejecting calligraphic abstraction (the dominant regional style in the 1970s), he pursued a contemporary vocabulary inspired by the process-oriented approach of British Constructivism and the non-elitism and experimentation of Fluxus. "I Am The Single Work Artist," a landmark retrospective of his diverse body of work, includes everything from early newspaper caricatures and comic strip drawings to "semi-system" works, performances, "urban archaeology" objects, and installations built up of everyday materials. An educator, critic, and writer, as well as an artist, Sharif embodied the principle of art as life, tackling social and philosophical issues with a hands-on, interdisciplinary approach that extended his personal example and practice into the wider world; his mentoring and support organizations continue his work.

Web site www.sharjahart.org


Hassan Sharif, Ladies and Gentlemen.

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