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sculpture

January/February 2010
Vol. 29 No. 1
A publication of the
International Sculpture Center
www.sculpture.org
Anish Kapoor
Kader Attia
Ann Hamilton
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Strategic planning: with the exception of donor pyramid, these
two words may be fraught with more anxiety and optimism than nearly
any others in the minds of nonprofit boards and staffs. Strategic plan-
ning is undertaken by most nonprofit organizations every three to five
years, and the ISC is no different. The board and staff of the ISC are
excited to undertake the process, and we have begun our work with
the assistance of a wonderful consultant. Participation in interviews,
conference calls, and meetings has been active and enthusiastic.
The positive attitude and momentum is due in large part to the recent
stability of the ISC under Johannah Hutchisons leadership. Johannah
and the ISCs dedicated and capable staff have made it possible for the
ISC board to enjoy the prospect of looking into the future and envision-
ing, along with staff, readers, and members, what the ISC might look
like in the years to comelong after we have completed our board
terms.
It is, of course, too early to tell what will come of this process, what
decisions will be made, and what will change over the coming years,
but I can share a small sample of the topics that have engaged us in
deep discussion.
Again, we are considering the I in our name. What does it mean,
and what will it mean in the future, for the ISC to be international? Is
the ISC a U.S. organization with global relationships, or is it a global
organization merely based in the U.S.? Is our international credential
to be measured by the language of Sculpture? The content of Sculpture?
The language and content of our Web site? The location of our confer-
ences? Or all of the above?
Similarly, we have begun lengthy discussions about what we do
and should doto serve our membership. While Sculpture and the
Web site bind ISC members together, and conferences bring our mem-
bers together, among other things, we are exploring ways to make
better use of new mediathe Internet, our Web site, blogs, Facebook,
Twitter, and other, developing technologiesto connect with the
sculpture community and allow our members to connect with each
other and the information, services, and opportunities important to
them. We are also exploring just what our many different constituen-
ciesemerging artists, struggling artists, successful artists, collectors,
art lovers, art administrators, and othersfind valuable.
Of course, no strategic planning discussion would be complete with-
out a splash of economic cold water, so we will pepper these discus-
sions with how to pay for the grandiose ideas that we dream up. Rest
assured, however, that long-term financial stability is, and will remain,
a top priority for the ISC staff and board.
Whether this process is completed next month or next year, I am
confident that the ISC board and staff are engaging in this exercise
deliberately and with care; whatever the outcome, the organization,
and you, its supporters, will be better served in the years to come. I
look forward to telling you more about our progress in the coming
months.
Josh Kanter
Chairman, ISC Board of Directors
From the Chairman
4 Sculpture 29.1
ISC Board of Directors
Chairman: Josh Kanter, Salt Lake City, UT
Chakaia Booker, New York, NY
Robert Edwards, Naples, FL
Bill FitzGibbons, San Antonio, TX
David Handley, Australia
Richard Heinrich, New York, NY
Paul Hubbard, Philadelphia, PA
Ree Kaneko, Omaha, NE
Gertrud Kohler-Aeschlimann, Switzerland
Marc LeBaron, Lincoln, NE
Patricia Meadows, Dallas, TX
George W. Neubert, Brownville, NE
Albert Paley, Rochester, NY
Henry Richardson, New York, NY
Russ RuBert, Springfield, MO
Walter Schatz, Nashville, TN
Sebastin, Mexico
STRETCH, Kansas City, MO
Steinunn Thorarinsdottir, Iceland
Boaz Vaadia, New York, NY
Chairmen Emeriti: Robert Duncan, Lincoln, NE
John Henry, Chattanooga, TN
Peter Hobart, Italy
Robert Vogele, Hinsdale, IL
Founder: Elden Tefft, Lawrence, KS
Lifetime Achievement
in Contemporary
Sculpture Recipients
Magdalena Abakanowicz
Fletcher Benton
Louise Bourgeois
Anthony Caro
Elizabeth Catlett
John Chamberlain
Eduardo Chillida
Christo & Jeanne-Claude
Mark di Suvero
Richard Hunt
William King
Manuel Neri
Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen
Nam June Paik
Arnaldo Pomodoro
Gio Pomodoro
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George Rickey
George Segal
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Departments
12 News
14 Itinerary
20 Commissions
80 ISC News
Reviews
69 Helsinki: Aaron Heino
70 Ridgefield, Connecticut: Edward Tufte
71 Boston: Beth Galston
72 Holyoke, Massachusetts: David Poppie
and Roger Sayre
72 New York: Jessica Stockholder
73 New York: Julianne Swartz
74 Cleveland: Jake Beckman
74 Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Deborah Sigel
75 London: Rebecca Warren
76 Barcelona: Tere Recarens
76 Tokyo: Ryoji Ikeda
77 Dispatch: Shanghai
On the Cover: Anish Kapoor, Hive, 2009.
Cor-ten steel, 5.6 x 10.07 x 7.55 meters.
Photograph: Dave Morgan, Courtesy the
artist, Lisson Gallery, London, and Gladstone
Gallery, New York.
Features
22 Anish Kapoor: Transcending the Object by Ina Cole
26 Anish Kapoor at the Guggenheim: The Dimensions of Memory by Jan Garden Castro
28 The Space In Between: A Conversation with Kader Attia by Rebecca Dimling Cochran
36 Extreme Precision: A Conversation with Margaret Evangeline by D. Dominick Lombardi
40 Acts of Finding: A Conversation with Ann Hamilton by Jan Garden Castro
48 Rebecca Ripple: Orgy in the Sky by Jessica Rath
50 John Atkin: Sculpture that Declares the Space Around It by Robert C. Morgan
54 The Beauty of Thinking: A Conversation with Giuseppe Panza by Sarah Tanguy
28
sculpture
January/February 2010
Vol. 29 No.1
A publication of the
International Sculpture Center
Sculpture January/February 2010 5
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6 Sculpture 29.1
S CUL PT URE MAGAZ I NE
Editor Glenn Harper
Managing Editor Twylene Moyer
Editorial Assistants Elizabeth Lynch, Deborah Clarke
Design Eileen Schramm visual communication
Advertising Sales Manager Brenden OHanlon
Contributing Editors Maria Carolina Baulo (Buenos Aires), Roger Boyce (Christchurch), Susan Canning
(New York), Marty Carlock (Boston), Jan Garden Castro (New York), Collette Chattopadhyay (Los Angeles),
Ina Cole (London), Ana Finel Honigman (Berlin), John K. Grande (Montreal), Kay Itoi (Tokyo), Matthew
Kangas (Seattle), Zoe Kosmidou (Athens), Angela Levine (Tel Aviv), Brian McAvera (Belfast), Robert C.
Morgan (New York), Robert Preece (Rotterdam), Brooke Kamin Rapaport (New York), Ken Scarlett
(Melbourne), Peter Selz (Berkeley), Sarah Tanguy (Washington), Laura Tansini (Rome)
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Each issue of Sculpture is indexed in The Art Index and the Bibliography of the History of Art (BHA).
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I NT E RNAT I ONAL SCUL PT URE CE NT E R CONT E MPORARY SCUL PT URE CI RCL E
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The ISC Board of Directors gratefully acknowledges the generosity of our members
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Sculpture January/February 2010 7
About the ISC
The International Sculpture Center, a member-supported, nonprofit organization
founded in 1960, advances the creation and understanding of sculpture and its
unique, vital contribution to society. The ISC seeks to expand public understanding
and appreciation of sculpture internationally, demonstrate the power of sculpture
to educate, effect social change, engage artists and arts professionals in a
dialogue to advance the art form, and promote a supportive environment for
sculpture and sculptors. Members include sculptors, collectors, patrons, educa-
tors, and museum professionalsanyone with an interest in and commitment
to the field of sculpture.
Membership
ISC membership includes subscriptions to Sculpture and Insider; access to
International Sculpture Conferences; free registration in Portfolio, the ISCs
on-line sculpture registry; and discounts on publications, supplies, and services.
International Sculpture Conferences
The ISCs International Sculpture Conferences gather sculpture enthusiasts
from all over the world to network and dialogue about technical, aesthetic,
and professional issues.
Sculpture Magazine
Published 10 times per year, Sculpture is dedicated to all forms of contemporary
sculpture. The members edition includes the Insider newsletter, which contains
timely information on professional opportunities for sculptors, as well as a list
of recent public art commissions and announcements of members accomplish-
ments.
www.sculpture.org
The ISCs award-winning Web site <www.sculpture.org> is the most comprehensive
resource for information on sculpture. It features Portfolio, an on-line slide
registry and referral system providing detailed information about artists and their
work to buyers and exhibitors; the Sculpture Parks and Gardens Directory, with
listings of over 250 outdoor sculpture destinations; Opportunities, a membership
service with commissions, jobs, and other professional listings; plus the ISC
newsletter and extensive information about the world of sculpture.
Education Programs and Special Events
ISC programs include the Outstanding Sculpture Educator Award, the Outstanding
Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Awards, and the Lifetime
Achievement Award in Contemporary Sculpture and gala. Other special events
include opportunities for viewing art and for meeting colleagues in the field.
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12 Sculpture 29.1
Winners Circle
Ryan Trecartin, who works in video and sculpture, has won
the inaugural Jack Wolgin International Competition in the
Fine Arts. The other shortlisted artists for the $150,000 prize
were Sanford Biggers and Michael Rakowitz.
David Altmejd has received the $50,000 Sobey Art
Award, Canadas top prize for contemporary Canadian
art.
Isa Genzken has won the 2009 Yanghyun Prize, a
KRW100,000 international award sponsored by Koreas
Yanghyun Foundation.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation recently
announced the shortlist for the 2010 Hugo Boss Prize. Cao Fei, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Natascha
Sadr Haghighian, Roman Ondk, Walid Raad, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul are finalists for
the eighth edition of the award.
Creative Time recently presented the inaugural Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social
Change, an annual $25,000 award, to The Yes Men in honor of their legendary culture jamming.
Two Korean and two international artists are sharing the inaugural Nam June Paik Art Center
Prize, a new annual award of $50,000. Eun-me Ahn, Ceal Floyer, Seung-taek Lee, and Robert
Adrian X were selected for their embrace of technology, multi-directional communications flow,
and viewer participation.
Britains Public Monuments and Sculpture Association and the Marsh Christian Trust recently
announced the winners of the 2009 Marsh Award for Public Sculpture. Three new works were honored:
Jaume Plensas ||ecm (:o||o|e, October 2009); Sarah Lucass |e|:e.c| (:o||o|e, June 2008); and
|e ||cn by Royal College of Art graduates Hsaio-Chi Tsai and Kimiya Yoshikawa.
news
Two Cutting-Edge Commissions for MAXXI
Italys new National Museum of XXI Century Arts (MAXXI) in Rome
will soon host two commissions as innovative as its Zaha Hadid-
designed building. Jurors for the international competition MAXXI
2per100 recently selected their winning projects, one outdoor
and one indoor, from among a shortlist of 11 artists, including
Piero Golia, Jenny Holzer, Daniel Buren, and Olaf Nicolai.
Maurizio Mochettis project for the indoor atrium, ||nee |e||e o|
|o:e ne|||e|c|c :o|.|||nec, uses sculptural and lighting elements
to choreograph relations between viewers and the curving, sensu-
ous space surrounding them. According to the jury, ||nee |e||e best
interprets the conception of internal space of the museum
an ambitious design that attempts to capture contemporaneity
Hans-Peter Feldmann, Shadowplay, 2009.
Left: Massimo Grimaldi, Emergencys Paediatric Centre in Juba Supported by MAXXI.
Above: Maurizio Mochetti, 2 views of Linee rette di luce nellIperspazio curvilineo.
Newsbriefs
Olafur Eliasson, who co-designed the 2007 Serpentine
Pavilion in London, returns to architecture in an
upcoming project for Copenhagena bridge over the
Christianshavn Kanal. Eliasson says that he wants
pedestrians to come as close to the water as possible
and to make part of the structure transparent. No
timetable for the construction has been announced.
Nearly 2,000 works by Hlio Oiticica were destroyed
in an October 2009 fire at a storage facility attached
to the home of Csar Oiticica, the artists brother and
director of the nonprofit Projeto Hlio Oiticica. The
facility was equipped with a fire alarm, as well as tem-
perature and humidity controls. Investigations continue
into the cause of the fire; the works, valued at $200
million, were uninsured.
Contemporary sculpture is on hiatus fromTrafalgar
Square until later this year. After 100 days of elevating
ordinary people, along with their whims, causes,
and concerns, the Fourth Plinth nowhonors Battle of
Britain hero Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Park. Leslie
Johnsons fiberglass statue will remain in place until
later this year, when it will be replaced by a new
commissionYinka Shonibares scale model of the
HMS |e|cn in a glass bottle. F
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through flow and forward momentum. Blending essential functionality and decorative color,
Mochettis interventions offer subtle surprises and serve as what he calls a space barometer.
Massimo Grimaldis |me|en:, |ceo|c|||: ten||e |n |o|c oc||eo |, |/\\| translates
public art into direct social activism. Installed outside MAXXIs entrance, the photographic/
video work will offer a changing array of images sent from the construction and subsequent
activities at a new medical facility built by Emergency in Juba, Sudan. The pediatric center,
which will offer free, specialized cardiac services to children up to the age of 14, is being
funded with 92 percent of the artworks 700,000 budget. Back in Rome, viewers can watch
true reportage, screened in a double synchronous video-projection that links the two sites,
in Grimaldis words, by their architecturesone made possible by the other.
MAXXI 2per100which attacted 554 proposals, more than half from international
artistswas sponsored by the Inter-Regional Superintendency for Public Works of Lazio,
Abruzzo, and Sardinia, in collaboration with the PARC General Directorate for the Quality
of the Contemporary Landscape, Architecture and Art, and funded through the 2% Law.
The museum and the new commissions are slated to be inaugurated in spring 2010.
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14 Sculpture 29.1
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Aspen Art Museum
/en, tc|c|coc
Kris Martin
||co| |cnoc|, .!, .o:o
For Martin, time is subject, object,
and material. His arresting sculp-
tural objects and provocative con-
ceptual pieces explore the temporal
elements of creation and the futile
quest for permanence/immortality.
In a new, site-referential installa-
tion, he examines a different aspect
of hubris, constructing a rocky envi-
ronment that captures the moun-
taineers extreme compulsion to defy
peaks and conquer nature. Shifts
in scale allow viewers a heady tran-
scendental perspective that plays
with the normal course of percep-
tion. The show also features a limited
print run of Martins hand-written
edition of Fyodor Dostoevskys |e
|o|c|. Here, the novels protagonist,
Myshkin, is replaced by a doppel-
ganger named Kris Martin in a hum-
bling act of adulation and identifica-
tion with the heros desire for spiri-
tual transformation.
Tel: 970.925.8050
Web site
<www.aspenartmuseum.org>
Denver Art Museum
|en.e|
Embrace!
||co| /||| !, .o:o
While many of todays name-brand
architects would eschew Frank Lloyd
Wright, they proudly follow his exam-
ple in designing museums as sculp-
tural statementsthree-dimension-
al objects that all but eclipse their
contents. Savvy artists and curators
have now learned to treat these
sometimes difficult containers as
mutable raw material to be explored
and altered at will. In the dialogue
between art and architecture, the
building is no longer sacrosanct: Urs
Fischer, with his interventions and
multi-million-dollar modifications to
the New Museum, is just the most
extreme example. In Denver, 17
artistsincluding El Anatsui, Kristin
Baker, Katharina Grosse, Christian
Hahn, Nicola Lpez, Rupprecht
Matthies, Tobias Rehberger, Jessica
Stockholder, Timothy Weaver +
eMAD, Lawrence Weiner, and Zhong
Biaowere invited to take over the
Daniel Libeskind-designed structure
and transform its already unusual
spatial configurations. Their site-
specific commissions work with and
against the host building in order
to break down traditional barriers
between artist and viewer.
Tel: 720.865.5000
Web site
<www.denverartmuseum.org>
Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro
|||cn
Cristina Iglesias
||co| |e||oc|, ,, .o:o
A sculptor of mazes, trellis-work fol-
lies, and tapestry-like gardens,
Iglesias immerses viewers in spaces
of the imagination. Giant ceilings fly
through the air, intricate Moorish
screens multiply into labyrinths, and
rooms transform into forests. Fusing
traditions and techniques from archi-
tecture, theater, printmaking, and
photography, her installations
approach the world through allusion.
This show features 19 works unified
into a single intricate motif of invigo-
rating magic. Water, earth, light,
bronze gardens, living plants, and
alabaster and glass transparencies
guide viewers through a present-
day Arcadia of timeless suspension,
where matter ceases to obey the
laws of nature and crosses into the
realm of metamorphosis and myth.
Tel: + 39 (0) 289075394/5
Web site <www.
fondazionearnaldopomodoro.it>
Hamburger Kunsthalle
|cm|o|
Pedro Cabrita Reis
||co| |e||oc|, .), .o:o
Since the early 1990s, Cabrita Reiss
work has revolved around themes
of housing, habitation, construction,
and territory. A keen collector of
civilizations refuse and of evocative
itinerary
Top left: Kris Martin, Idiot. Left:
Nicola Lpez, installation for
Embrace!, view of work in pro-
gress. Above: Cristina Iglesias,
Santa Fe (Celosias I) and Santa
Fe (Celosias II).
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Sculpture January/February 2010 15
sensory impressions, he finds his
inspiration in abandoned building
sites and his treasure in discards.
Like his sculptures based on com-
monplace furnishings, such as tables
and chairs and doors and windows,
his architecturally inflected installa-
tions transform the ordinary fabric
of everyday life, drab surroundings,
and banal construction materials
into new worlds that border on the
sublime. These expansive environ-
ments, often formed from complex
and imposing structures, counter
the classic white cube with massive
brick walls, found objects, industrial
neon tubes, steel girders, and rough
wooden planks. This large-scale sur-
veythe artists most comprehen-
sive to datefeatures 60 sculptures
and installations, including new
works developed especially for the
show.
Tel: + 49 (0) 40 428 131 200
Web site
<www.hamburger-kunsthalle.de>
Inverleith House
|o|n|o||
Karla Black
||co| |e||oc|, ), .o:o
Black describes her work as almost
painting, performance, or installa-
tion while actually, and quite defi-
nitely, being sculpture. Ephemeral,
floor-based pieces and remarkable
hanging sculptures appear untouch-
ably fragile, exuding a vulnerable
and provocative beauty that masks
a serious dialogue with nature and
culture. In addition to addressing
developmental experience, complete
with sensory recollections awak-
ened through powder paint, crushed
chalk, and sugar paper, her work
slyly alludes to tired associations
with the feminine. Lipstick, nail
varnish, self-tanners, and other tools
of enhancement (some permanently
wet and festering) interrupt other-
wise clean surfaces, but their role
extends beyond critique. For this
show, she has made new installa-
tions for seven rooms in Inverleith
House, all using ephemeral materi-
als to evoke the landscape.
Tel: + 44 (0) 131 248 2971
Web site <www.rbge.org.uk/
inverleith-house>
Kunsthalle Dsseldorf
|oe|oc||
Eat Art
||co| |e||oc|, .3, .o:o
As an institutionalized art form, Eat
Art originated in Dsseldorf in 1970,
when Daniel Spoerri founded the
Eat Art Galerie on Burgplaz. There,
prominent artists such as Dieter
Roth, Joseph Beuys, and Roy Licht-
enstein exhibited objects made
of food. This exhibition attempts to
document the use of edible materials
in art from the 1970s to the pre-
sent day. More than just delectable
curiosities, foodstuffs allow artists
such as Jana Sterbak, Sonja
Alhuser, and Thomas Rentmeister
to explore a wide range of con-
cernsfrom identity formation
through eating habits and rituals
to affluence and gluttony, global-
ization, trade, and the politics of
food supply.
Tel: + 49 (0) 211-89 962 43
Web site
<www.kunsthalle-duesseldorf.de>
Modern Art Oxford
0\|c|o, ||
Pawel Althamer
Miroslaw Balka
||co| |c|:| ,, .o:o
A traditional sculptor of highly real-
istic figures as well as a radical
interventionist, Althamer orches-
trates situations and events that
place real peopleincluding the
Above: Sonja Alhuser, Butterskulptur, from Eat Art. Top right: Pedro
Cabrita Reis, Les dormeurs. Right: Karla Black, Platonic Solid (detail).
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itinerary
16 Sculpture 29.1
homeless, prison inmates, illegal
workers, street musicians, and chil-
drenin alternative or parallel real-
ities where they have the power of
creative input and execution. In his
new work, tcmmcn c|, Althamer
joins neighbors from his Brodn
housing estate in an inventive form
of time travel. The show includes
various souvenirs collected by these
intrepid tourists during their travels
across the globe.
One of todays most important
sculptors, Balka translates the lan-
guage of Minimalism and conceptu-
alism into breathtaking scenarios of
subjective narrative. In conjunction
with his Unilever commission for Tate
Moderns Turbine Hall, this exhibi-
tion features a survey of related
video works. Presented as a multi-
dimensional installation, Topog-
raphy, which sifts elements of the
poetic and the insufferable from
the discordant layers of history, offers
a fresh perspective on Balkas
explorations of the body and its
limitations, memory, and the
space between looking and knowing.
Tel: + 44 (0) 1865 813830
Web site
<www.modernartoxford.org.uk>
Museum of Arts and Design
|eu 'c||
Slash: Paper Under the Knife
||co| /||| !, .o:o
The third in a series of MAD exhibi-
tions exploring the renaissance
of traditional handcraft materials in
contemporary art and design, Slash
picks up where MoMAs Paper left
off, focusing on current uses of paper
as a creative medium and source of
inspiration. Works by more than 50
artists, including Thomas Demand,
Olafur Eliasson, Tom Friedman, Nina
Katchadourian, Judy Pfaff, Lesley
Dill, and Kara Walker, demonstrate
how paper can become more than
a surface receptacle for images.
Process-oriented artists submit their
material to burning, tearing, laser-
cutting, and shredding, while others
modify books to create new objects
or use cut paper for film and video
animations. Among the highlights
of this richly diverse collection are
12 new site-specific installations by
Andreas Kocks, Clio Braga, Tomas
Rivas, and Michael Velliquette,
among others.
Tel: 212.299.7777
Web site <www.madmuseum.org>
Museum of Contemporary Art
t||:cc
Italics: Italian Art Between
Tradition and Revolution 19682008
||co| |e||oc|, :!, .o:o
Italics explores creativity, originality,
and artistic production in a country
where cultural change is all too often
weighed down by the persistence
of the past. Whether reinterpreting
historical precedent or breaking
away from tradition, Italian artists
active during the past 40 years are
at ease with the realities of social
transformation. Reflecting their idio-
syncratic paths and resisting the
artificiality of groupings and move-
ments such as Arte Povera, the show
(curated by Francesco Bonami)
attempts to counter the Italian
aversion to individuality and experi-
mentation. Works by more than 80
artists, including Mario and Marisa
Top left: Miroslaw Balka, video still from Bambi. Top right: Pawel
Althamer, Common Task, Brasilia. Left: Mia Pearlman, EDDY, from
Slash. Above: Maurizio Cattelan, All, from Italics.
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Sculpture January/February 2010 17
Merz, Alighiero Boetti, Lucio Fon-
tana, Maurizio Cattelan (who has
created a dramatic new sculpture),
Stefano Arienti, Paola Pivi, Patrick
Tuttofuoco, and Giuseppe Gabellone
span various visual media to exca-
vate an ancient and contemporary
civilization split between a glorious
past and an uncertain future.
Tel: 312.280.2660
Web site <www.mcachicago.org>
Museum of Contemporary Art
cn ||ec
Tara Donovan
||co| |e||oc|, .3, .o:o
Donovan bases each of her phenom-
enologically 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 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.
This survey exhibition (at MCASDs
Jacobs Building) features 17 sculp-
tures and site-responsive installa-
tions by the MacArthur genius grant
winner.
Tel: 858.454.3541
Web site <www.mcasd.org>
Museum of Fine Arts
|co|cn
Your Bright Future: 12
Contemporary Artists from Korea
||co| |e||oc|, :!, .o:o
Your Bright Future features a gen-
eration of artists who have emerged
since the mid-1980ssome well-
known and others on the brink of
recognitionall of whom work on
the cutting- edge of international
art trends, including sculpture and
installation, video, and computer
animation, and within a distinctly
Korean context. Bahc Yiso, Choi
Jeong-Hwa, Gimhongsok, Jeon
Joonho, Kim Beom, Kim Sooja, Koo
Jeong-A, Minouk Lim, Jooyeon Park,
Do Ho Suh, Haegue Yang, and the
collaborative Young-Hae Chang
Heavy Industries came of age amid
political turmoil and increased free-
doms; their experience has inspired
work that focuses, often humorously,
on the ephemeral nature of life,
time, and identity, as well as the
limitations of communication
across languages, cultures, and
generations.
Tel: 713.639.7300
Web site <www.mfah.org>
Museum Ludwig
|c|n
Franz West
||co| |c|:| :!, .o:o
For the past 30 years, West has
played a critical role in redefining
the possibilities of sculpture as
social and environmental experi-
ence. Coming out of a powerful
1960s performance scene led by the
Viennese Actionists, he developed
an early interest in the potential
of objects to trigger an array of psy-
chological states and experiences.
His unique manipulations of found
objects, papier-mch, and furniture
inspire bizarre applications and sce-
narios. Though fundamentally sculp-
Top left: Tara Donovan, Untitled. Left: Do Ho Suh, Fallen Star 1/5, from
Your Bright Future. Above: Franz West, Caiphas & Kepler.
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18 Sculpture 29.1
tural in their construction, his works
veer toward the biomorphic and
prosthetic, possessing an awkward
beauty that responds to both
painterly abstraction and trash art.
This exhibition, devised in close col-
laboration with the artist, features
more than 90 objects, including an
outdoor sculpture and brand-new
work.
Tel: + 49 221 221 26165
Web site
<www.museum-ludwig.de>
Museum of Modern Art
|eu 'c||
Gabriel Orozco
||co| |c|:| :, .o:o
Orozco creates his sculptures, instal-
lations, photographs, and paintings
from everyday objects and situa-
tions, twisting conventional notions
of reality by inserting the ordinary
into unexpected contexts. From one
project to the next, he deliberately
blurs the boundaries between art
object and prosaic environment, sit-
uating his contributions in a hybrid
place ruled by imagination. Poetic
and intriguing, his works are influ-
enced by his extensive travels,
as well as by political commitment.
This exhibition brings many of his
works to New York for the first time,
including the now-classic |c |,
a Citron car surgically reduced to
two-thirds its normal width.
Tel: 212.708.9400
Web site <www.moma.org>
Museum of Modern Art
|eu 'c||
Paul Sietsema
||co| |e||oc|, :,, .o:o
Working in sculpture, video, and
photography, Sietsema conducts an
ongoing conceptual investigation
into the relationship between three-
dimensional objects and their two-
dimensional images. His sculptures
carefully reconstruct indigenous
artifacts, re-interpreted from black
and white reproductions found in
catalogues, archaeological manu-
als, and explorers diaries. This show
features large-format drawings, as
well as the film ||o|e ,, in which
Sietsema documents five years
of his reconstructed antiquities. As
meticulous as these reconstructions
are, their purpose is not fakery;
instead, their creation is intended
as a means to explore the passage
of time while opening a dialogue
between the conventions of making
and reproducing, between the lan-
guages of two and three dimensions.
Allowing his subjects to migrate from
a static two-dimensional source to
a three-dimensional state to a time-
based, cinematic vision, he investi-
gates how different forms of repre-
sentation affect our understanding.
Tel: 212.708.9400
Web site <www.moma.org>
Neues Museum
|o|em|e|
Daniel Buren
||co| |e||oc|, :!, .o:o
Buren is considered one of the
fiercest critics of contemporary art
and its display in museums and
galleries. For over 40 years, he has
applied his mischievous sensibility
to works that play directly on their
surroundings. From the Guggenheim
in New York to the Muse Picasso
in Paris, to various outdoor loca-
tions, he has created breathtaking
installations that give heightened
visibility to selected aspects of
reality. In Nuremberg, he brings
new perspectives to the striking
architecture of Volker Staab in
installations that combine light and
movement in singular situations.
Tel: + 49 (11) 240 20 10
Web site <www.nmn.de>
Socrates Sculpture Park
|cn ||cno t||,, |eu 'c||
Emerging Artist Fellowship
Exhibition 2009
||co| |c|:| ,, .o:o
EAF artists are selected through an
open call for proposals and awarded
a grant and residency at Socrates
outdoor studio; for many, this is
their first opportunity to work out-
side on a large scale. This years
results represent a broad range of
materials, methods, and subject
matterfrom a playfully inconve-
nient boardwalk through a grove
of trees to a visual manifestation of
childhood nightmares, an urban-
scale confectionary of threatening
proportions, and a cowardly yellow-
brick road to nowhere. Works
by David Brooks, Pilar Conde, Zack
Left: Paul Sietsema, still from Figure 3.
Above: Daniel Buren, view of
Modulation. Top right: Gabriel
Orozco, La DS. Right: Lan Tuazon,
Riot City, from Socrates, EAF 2009.
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itinerary
Sculpture January/February 2010 19
Davis, Christian de Vietri, Aaron
King, Zak Kitnick, Lynn Koble, Tamara
Kostianovsky, Mads Lynnerup, Wyatt
Nash, Navin June Norling, Andra
Stanislav, Brina Thurston, Kon
Trubkovich, Lan Tuazon, and Erik &
Ninh Vysocan are installed against
the parks spectacular waterfront
view of the Manhattan skyline.
Tel: 718.956.1819
Web site
<www.socratessculpturepark.org>
Tate Modern
|cnocn
Miroslaw Balka
||co| /||| ,, .oo)
Anyone who fears the dark should
stay away from |cu || |, Balkas
Unilever commission for Turbine
Hall. The enormous, elevated steel
chamber plunges those who climb
the ramp and enter its confines
into a pitch-black void. The matter-
of-fact title, which comes from a
Samuel Beckett novel, gives noth-
ing away. While it is intended to
be about everything and nothing,
the resonances are clear and
unremittingly bleak: the ramp at the
entrance to the Warsaw Ghetto,
the cattle cars that shipped Jews and
others to the camps, the biblical
plague of darkness, black holes, the
abyss, and eternal nothingness.
Regardless of interpretative frame,
its the experience itself that mat-
ters here, and it has been almost
unanimously praised as disturbing,
unnerving, awe-inspiring, and terri-
fying. Entering is an act of faith
in oneself and in others (the almost
invisible and equally blind others
feeling their way through the same
impenetrable darkness). Balka
hopes that people will visit |cu || |
multiple times, using it as a space
for contemplation, but its hard to
imagine that such a physical and
psychological blackout, despite the
frisson of the unknown, will inspire
the same feel- good, communal
atmosphere of Eliassons sunny
Hec||e| ||ce:|.
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7887 8888
Web site <www.tate.org.uk>
Walker Art Center
||nnecc||
Haegue Yang
||co| |e||oc|, .3, .o:o
Working with non-traditional mate-
rials such as customized Venetian
blinds and sensory devices, includ-
ing lights, infrared heaters, scent
emitters, and fans, Yang (who repre-
sented the Republic of Korea in the
2009 Venice Biennale) constructs
complex and nuanced installations
that collapse the space between
the concrete and the ephemeral. Her
recent work explores real and
metaphorical relationships between
material surroundings and emotional
responses, attempting to give form
and meaning to experiences beyond
conventional order. Despite their
rigorous and minimal abstraction,
these micro- environments do not
negate narrative; instead, as Yang
says, they allow a narrative to be
achieved without constituting its
own limits. Her first solo museum
exhibition in the U.S. features a
major installation, 'ec|n|n |e|cn
:|c|, |eo (2008), co-commissioned
by REDCAT, Los Angeles, and the
Walker, along with selections of
recent work.
Tel: 612.375.7600
Web site <www.walkerart.org>
Whitney Museum of American Art
|eu 'c||
Roni Horn
||co| |cnoc|, .!, .o:o
From Icelands hot springs to the
murky Thames, Horn draws inspira-
tion from the elements. For more
than 30 years, she has created work
of concentrated visual power and
intellectual rigor that connects the
world around us with our interior
landscapes. Gender, identity,
androgyny, and the complex rela-
tionship between object and subject
find their equivalent resonances in
water, ice, volatile geology, and the
fluctuations of weather. Materials
used with virtuosity and sensitivity
display the same fluidity, taking on
metaphorical qualities and primal
potency. This retrospective brings
together sculptures (including
works in copper and gold, as well as
ethereal cast-glass landscape mass-
es), large-scale installations, pho-
tography, drawings, and books, all
demonstrating Horns unwavering
commitment to reconciling materi-
als and personal experience and
to tracing the ever-mutable states
of being in the world.
Tel: 212.570.3600
Web site <www.whitney.org>
Top left: Haegue Yang, Yearning
Melancholy Red. Left: Roni Horn,
Rationalists Would Wear Sombreros.
Above: Miroslaw Balka, How It Is.
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MAtt 8Akk
CairnsmoreSurfacemen
Cairnsmore of Fleet, Scotland
Sited at Cairnsmore of Fleet National Nature Reserve in southwest-
ern Scotland, Matt Bakers CairnsmoreSurfacemen scatters five
sculptural elements through the landscape to be discovered by hik-
ers. The approximately 7.5-square-mile reserve protects upland
moorland, moss-covered bog and heath habitats supporting diverse
plants and wildlife. Baker was commissioned by Scottish National
Heritage (SNH), along with the poet Mary Smith, to create works
responding to the land (the work is now managed by the Dumfries
and Galloway Arts Association). Baker describes the parallel pro-
jects as collaboration on the research aspect of the commission.
Together, they identified five dominant themesHush, Heart,
Erratic, Ocean, and Scene Shiftersthen continued independently,
with Baker using the themes as titles for individual sculptures.
He selected sites throughout the park: I was delighted by the
risk-taking attitude of the commissioner[Hush and Erratic] are in
very remote areas that require walking over challenging terrain
SNH took the position that the spirit of the place and the project
was this very terrain. His evocative works suggest the sparse
human influences on this landscape over timeHush and Heart,
in carved granite with interwoven bronze chains, both depict por-
tions of human faces emerging from the rock, and Erratic, Ocean,
and Scene Shifters incorporate mysterious tool-like forms. Bakers
works will evolve in response to the effects of nature: Moss
is growing over the subtle carving on Heartthe bronze casting in
Scene Shifters is worn away when the stream floods and abrades
the sculpture against the granite boulderErratic is moved around
the reserve by people who find it and take up the invitation to
move it. (Erratic, named for the glacial boulders that identify
patterns of ice flow, is a large piece of granite attached to a chain
and handle, enabling visitors to drag it around.)
A brochure distributed to residents in two adjoining towns
describes the sculptures and includes five related poems by
Smith, fostering a spirit of local ownership. As Baker summa-
rizes Surfacemen, the idea of finding is importantPeople
may be inspired to go looking for a sculpture but may discover
other thingsand never actually find the work. Also someone
walking in the reserve may happen across a sculpture by chance
and have a wholly fresh experience.
0tAruk fttAsson
The parliament of reality
Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
The parliament of reality, Olafur Eliassons intervention on the
campus of Bard College, offers a new way to interpret, examine,
and live in an academic environment. The site-specific work,
installed in an empty field across from the schools performing arts
center, consists of a manmade island in the center of a 135-foot-
diameter lake. Eliasson calls the islands round, flat surface, dotted
with boulders, a meeting platform. The concept refers to
the Icelandic Parliament, the Althing, meaning a space for all
things, which Eliasson interprets to include negotiation and dia-
logue, where engagement and critical reflection are the end itself,
not just the meansWith The parliament of realityI would like
to emphasize the fact that negotiation should be at the core of any
educational scheme. It is only by questioning what one is taught
that real knowledge is produced and a critical attitude sustained.
20 Sculpture 29.1
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commissions
Left, top and bottom: Matt Baker, CairnsmoreSurfacemen (with Hush,
Heart, Erratic, Ocean, and Scene Shifters), 2008. Hush (top): granite, bronze
chain, and cast bronze pins, 20 in. high; Ocean (bottom): greywacke slates,
bronze chain, cast bronze yoke, glass, and sea water, 3.5 ft. wide.
commissions
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The central island can be reached only by walking down a cov-
ered pathway of arced stainless steel. This elaborate passageway,
Eliasson says, emphasizes the transition from mainland into the
area of negotiation. Its intricate structure is inspired by research
into orientation and our experience of temporality: it cannot be
experienced at a glance, but requires time for people to move
through it. The platform itself is made of stone with an incised
pattern alluding to nautical charts and compass points, mirroring
how people align themselves with ideas and organize negotiations.
Eliassons landscape designaround the circular lake, 24 newly
planted trees will grow to create a groveheightens the difference
in perspective between viewers on the island and those standing
outside the lake.
Jaime Baird, an administrator at the Bard College Center for
Curatorial Studies, says that the work is used by students, faculty,
and staffas an informal gathering place or a place to relax; it has
also been used for classes. Responsive to [its] context, Eliasson
says, The parliament of reality challenges viewers to co-produce
[the artwork]through their perceptions and expectations.
AtunA 1AcuA
Muhammad Ali Plaza
Louisville, KY
Athena Tacha, in collaboration with the design firm EDAW, recently
designed the 5,000-square-meter Muhammad Ali Plaza, adjacent to
the Muhammad Ali Center in downtown Louisville. With a tiered
amphitheater, a waterfall, and a central illuminated fountain of 48
glass columns, the design defines the large site and unifies dis-
parate elements into a dramatic whole. The upper level supports
a paved area with Tachas gently flowing Chadar Waterfall, which
she says is reminiscent ofa standard feature of Mogul gardens.
Connected by runnels to an additional pool, water flows in a wide
curve down through the stepped seating area and into the fountain.
Tacha created the sculptural amphitheater, Dancing Steps
evocative of Alis famous dancing boxing techniqueand an
ascending fountain in the form of a spiraling [16-pointed]
starDennis Carmichael of EDAW created a spiraling pavement
radiating from the points of the star-shaped poolOne of the spi-
raling arms becomes a runnel through the amphitheater, bringing
water from the top level into the basin of Star Fountain. The foun-
tains nighttime illumination is a repeating seven-minute program
that Tacha designed in collaboration with Color Kinetics. The col-
ors twist, rise, and fall, she says, enhancing the dancing effect
of the seating while echoing the multi-colored tile faade of the
nearby Ali Center. (The fountain and waterfall were fabricated
by Architectural Glass Art, a Louisville studio.)
Tachas recently completed Friendship Plaza in Washington, DC,
also combines paving, an arcade of lighting, and a central fountain
containing an obelisk with streaming text. Like her previous
public spaces, these new plazas add life to their locations and
welcome visitors to the urban outdoors.
Elizabeth Lynch
Sculpture January/February 2010 21
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Juries are convened each month to select works for Commissions.
Information on recently completed commissions, along with quality
35mm slides/transparencies or high-resolution digital images (300 dpi
at 4 x 5 in. minimum) and an SASE for return of slides, should
be sent to: Commissions, Sculpture, 1633 Connecticut Avenue NW,
4th Floor, Washington, DC 20009.
Above, left and right: Olafur Eliasson, The parliament of reality, 2009. Bluestone
pavers, dolomite boulders, stainless steel, and landscaping, pond 135 ft. diame-
ter. Right, top and bottom: Athena Tacha, Muhammad Ali Plaza (with Chadar
Waterfall, Dancing Steps, and Star Fountain), 200809. Sandstone, cast stone,
granite, brick, glass, and animated LED lighting, 5,000-sq.-meter area.
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Svayambh, 2007. Wax and oil-based
paint, installation view at the Muse
des Beaux-Arts, Nantes.
Sculpture January/February 2010 23
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BY INA COLE
Anish Kapoor is widely known for works that enter into a deep spiritual engagement with
the viewer. He revels in the spectacular, creating visually overwhelming, attention-com-
manding sculpture. During his recent retrospective at Londons Royal Academy of Art,
viewers entering the courtyard confronted a towering column of highly reflective spheres
that prompted immediate surprise. Inspired by Rainer Maria Rilkes Sonnets to Orpheus,
Tall Tree and the Eye ingeniously multiplies its surroundings, each sphere simultaneously
reflecting the towers components and its location. Although vast in scale, the work has
a distinctly transient presence, residing in a state of suspended equilibrium, as though
ready to disperse with the next gust of wind. A joyous, celebratory, and audaciously capti-
vating work, it offered an exemplary introduction to the exhibition.
Inside, the show began with a selection of early illusory pigment works, such as White
Sand, Red Millet, Many Flowers. While the clarity of the shapes and purity of the colors
are in line with the Modernist tradition, these beginnings lead to the development of a
sculptural language that reaches beyond the object into the deeper realms of physical and
psychological experience and the de-materialization of the art object. Ancient civilizations
strongly believed in the influence of color on humans, and here, the sharp edges of the
works fuse with Kapoors particular use of black, yellow, and red to create a volatile mix.
His understanding of color is almost scientific. The intense red can stimulate the autonom-
ic nervous system, but it also tends to dilute the colors around it; yet yellow, when viewed
against the multi-dimensional nature of black, is seen before red. This combination, set
within the confines of the gallery space, created an atmosphere fizzing with tension.
The luminosity of the pigment works provided a timely introduction to Yellowa space
that swamps the viewers entire field of vision with color. Yellow is often associated with
24 Sculpture 29.1
Above: installation view with (background) Yellow,
1999, and (foreground) As if to Celebrate I Discovered
a Mountain Blooming with Red, 1981. Below: Shooting
into the Corner, 2009. Mixed media, installation view.
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ideas of hope and renewal, but various
interpretations through time and history
have also imbued it with negative conno-
tations. Since the emblematic use of color
is a cultural construct with different func-
tions depending on context, a single, uni-
versal psychological reaction to a particu-
lar color does not exist. Nonetheless, the
power of this work lies specifically in its
overwhelming use of yellow, and how it
seemingly floats within its designated
space, leaving viewers struggling to ratio-
nalize between perceptions of what is con-
cave and what is convex. Appealing yet
taunting, Yellow hovers between appari-
tion and surface, remaining out of physi-
cal and psychological reach, but lingering
as an infinite void of optical illusionism.
One of the highlights of the exhibition,
certainly in terms of performance and spec-
tatorship, was Shooting into the Corner.
Here, a cannon fired shells of red wax
repetitively and relentlessly through a door-
way. Each shell weighed 20 pounds and
traveled at an extraordinary 50 miles per
hour, creating an almighty bang each time
a shot was fired. There was something
satisfyingly anarchic about this act of
destructionthe ruination of the acade-
mys dignified architecture by a rebellious
actand its messy accumulation of wax,
some 30 tons of it, gathered in a corner.
Shooting into the Corner appears to have
a dual message: it can be interpreted as
an anti-establishment gesture and a com-
ment on todays violent world, yet it also
makes reference to the concept of a self-
generated work of art. In a sense, Shooting
into the Corner appeared to express dis-
satisfaction at its own imprisonment; by
insistently blasting shells into the adjoining
room, it was doing its utmost to escape
the confines of its designated space.
This exhibition was particularly notable
for its use of the gallery spaces, which
became places for social interaction between
perfect strangers. For instance, Non-Objects,
a large room of chameleon-like, mirrored
works, prompted spontaneous conversation
between visitors. The concave objects
created a world where people saw themselves constantly reflectedexpanded, con-
tracted, upside downas though in a circus sideshow. For Kapoor, this sequence of
works marks a new spatial adventure, and, as with many of his sculptures, the pieces
hover between the material and the immaterial. Although they physically do exist,
they have a weightlessness that makes them appear as holes in space, thereby induc-
ing a strong physical sensation of vertigo and playing havoc both with the senses and
the application of logic.
Svayambh, which occupied five galleries, radically altered the playful quality of the
initial installations. In a sense the backbone of the show, Svayambh (Sanskrit for self-
generated) signals an important development in Kapoors quest to create work that
exists by its own volition, something he has referred to as a proto-moment. In a world
where artificial intelligence has replaced much of human endeavor, it could also be
argued that the creation of a self- generated work of art is symbolically progressive.
Svayambh is a towering block of red wax that moves slowly and painfully along tracks.
It repetitively squeezed itself through the doorways of the academy, leaving behind an
oozing red residue. Two galleries were eclipsed as a result of its journey, and this added
to the works ominous qualitythe feeling that something deeply unpleasant was taking
place in the spaces blocked from view, something potentially bloody, of vast proportions,
and possibly out of human control.
The Royal Academy exhibition surveyed Kapoors career to date, but it also presented
a number of challenging new works. One of the most recent, Hive, explores space and
scale. Space is a consistent preoccupation in the development of Kapoors work, some-
thing he has referred to as the ultimate adventure, the real abstract entity, and scale
is one of sculptures most significant tools. Hive confronts viewers with two seemingly
contrasting, and simultaneous, imagesan object in space and an internal cavernous
expanse. It is difficult to understand its scale, and this elusive quality was exaggerated
by the positioning of the piece in a small room, with the viewers relationship to it
becoming physically uncertain. For Kapoor, this resistance of view is a deliberate ploy
and an important feature of scalethe work engages viewers, yet retains its enigma.
Kapoor intended this show as a succession of physical and psychological experiences,
drawing the viewer into his search for a sculptural language that transcends the object;
with works such as Hive, Non-Objects, and Yellow, he certainly succeeded in his aim.
Ina Cole is a writer and museum professional in the U.K.
Sculpture January/February 2010 25
Greyman Cries, Shaman Dies, Billowing Smoke,
Beauty Evoked (detail), 200809. Cement, instal-
lation view.
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BY JAN GARDEN CASTRO
Anish Kapoors Memory is a new kind of
monumenta 24-ton, Cor-ten steel, site-
specific work that poses phenomenolog-
ical questions about inner space, mind,
and being. Designed for both the New
York and Berlin Guggenheims, it debuted
in Berlin in November 2008 as the first
Deutsche Bank commission. In New York
through March 28, Memory forms part
of the museums 50th-anniversary cele-
bration.
Kapoors seemingly elemental forms
embody multiplicities, playing with voids
that appear solid, sculpture that reads as
two-dimensional, volume that marks time,
color that changes scale, and transforma-
tions of self and gender. His work relates
to that of other experimenters, including
Joseph Beuys, Barnett Newman, and Paul
Neagu. Kapoor also explores historical
contexts and self-generated forms, as seen
in his wax and oil paint sculpture Svay-
ambh, whose blood-like wax form was
variously shaped during its slow passage
through the portals of historic museums
in Nantes, Munich, and London.
26 Sculpture 29.1
The
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Anish Kapoor
at the
Guggenheim
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In fact, Kapoors body of work challenges notions of sculptures materiality.
Sandhini Poddars excellent catalogue essay quotes Kapoor recounting Paul
Neagus realization that the purpose of being an artist was somehow not to make
more-or-less interesting objects, but that the language of the eye has psychologi-
cal, physiological, philosophical, even metaphysical implications. That felt to me
what I was looking for. Poddar suggests that Kapoors recent work is mental
sculpture and that Memorys monumental void is more central than its mass.
The 154 thin pieces of steel that make up Memory were bolted together with
steel bands on site. The resulting shape is curved and linear, with one flattened
round end where multiple plates join and one rectangular portal that reveals
the dark, smooth-seamed interior. Because the form is crammed into a small
gallery, viewers can never see the complete sculpture. Rope, tape, and guards
restrict us to three views: the end close up, the tank-like right flank, and the
rectangular opening into a cavern that, at first, resembles a two-dimensional
black painting. Im personally struck by Memorys voiceresonant echoes from
its vast bellyand by the exteriors curvilinear relation to Wrights spiral building,
with its central, steel-girded glass rotunda. In addition, the exterior grid sug-
gests an elongated globe with longitudinal and latitudinal lines. In an old-fash-
ioned way, Memory joins un-seeable immensity and ingenious craft/engineering.
This deeply philosophical piece is largely unapproachable, so its a memorial that
is, in some ways, about ones capacity to look inward.
Memorys Cor-ten skin will slowly age and rust. The correspondences, geome-
tries, and engineering give the piece many dimensions and associations. Engineer
Christopher Hornzee-Jones, Dutch fabricator Allard Bokma, and shipbuilder Lam-
mert Osinga are among the many talented artisans with whom Kapoor worked.
The exhibition catalogue elaborates on their roles, Kapoors career, and approaches
to memory: Henri Lustiger-Thaler explores remembrance in Holocaust memorials,
while Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak grapples with the dilemmas of globalization. This
leaves us to ponder the big picturethe gift of memory, the range of memory,
the roles of memory, or the absence of memory in shaping histories and lives.
Jan Garden Castro is a writer living in New York.
Sculpture January/February 2010 27
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Above: View through the window of Memory. Below:
Computer-generated image of the installation at the
Guggenheim Museum, NY.
Memory, 2008. Cor-ten steel, 14.5 x 8.97 x 4.48 meters.
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Kader Attia is captivated by what happens in the space between things.
He often inverts the traditional figure/ground relationship, focusing,
for instance, on the environment created between two buildings rather
than on the buildings themselves. He does not see an empty bag on
a bench but the imprint of what was once inside. Its a perception
driven by the notion that what is important is the experience of some-
thing rather than the result.
In his sculptural installations, Attia attempts to visualize these tem-
poral and physical spaces, asking viewers to see what is absent as well
as what is present. His works have been exhibited widely in biennials,
galleries, and art fairs throughout Europe. He has had recent solo
exhibitions in Boston, Seattle, Atlanta, Berlin, and Paris.
Sculpture January/February 2010 29
Kader Attia
Opposite: Untitled (Skyline), 2007.
Found refrigerators, paint, and mir-
rors, installation view. Above: Flying
Rats, 2005. Bird seed, clothing, wigs,
bags, and 250 live pigeons, figures
life-size.
BY REBECCA DIMLING COCHRAN
The Space
In Between
A Conversation with
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Rebecca Dimling Cochran: Youre often
described not as a French artist but as a
Muslim of Algerian descent living in France
(and now in Berlin). Does this bother you?
Kader Attia: From the beginning, I have
not felt uncomfortable with this way of
introduction. I found it real, because obvi-
ously I am an artist first of all. This multi-
cultural background is something that
belongs to my work and to my history. I
feel myself as both French and Algerian.
Im definitely in between.
RDC: How did growing up in the suburbs
of Paris among a large immigrant popula-
tion affect your identity?
KA: Growing up in the suburbs affects you
in many ways, especially in your visual cul-
ture, because you are surrounded by pro-
jects in which architecture means the grid,
parallel lines, blocks, and boxes. I remem-
ber very well when I would go back to
Algeria, particularly to visit my fathers
family deep in the mountains. I used to
feel very free there. I used to appreciate
the serenity of the huge space.
In the suburbs, postmodern buildings
have a strong effect on the population.
They take away your identity. In my cul-
ture, people used to build their own houses,
so they adapted their homes to themselves.
In the French suburbs, it is the opposite.
The inhabitants have adapted themselves
to the houses. That, for me, is a postmod-
ern mistake. It affected me a lot when I
was a teenager. I used to feel very differ-
ent from my friends and fell in love with a
book on Michelangelo that my teacher gave me. When I had this book in my hands,
I thought, Wow, there is something else than this.
RDC: Is that how you decided to become an artist?
KA: It was two artists, actually. First there was Michelangelo, then there was Vermeer.
I saw one of his paintings in the newspaper and said, I have to go to this exhibition in
Paris. So I went, and it was like an electroshock. I found that the notion of transcen-
denceyou exist through something that is definitely not abstract but has much to do
with myths and mythologieswas something very strong for me. I never thought that
I wanted to be an artist, but art opened my mind and I started to read a lot.
RDC: But you went to university to study art?
KA: I decided to go to art school because I felt comfortable with itnot to be an artist, but
to be a graphic designer. Then I began to be fascinated by photography and went to the
cole Nationale Suprieure des Arts Dcoratifs, which is one of the best photography
programs in France. There, I had a second electroshock with two American photogra-
phers. One was Robert Frank and the other, Berenice Abbott. I was fascinated by her
pictures, and I read about her lifea quiet life, working in her lab, not speaking a lot.
I am fascinated by people who devote their lives to their art without any compromise.
Abbott is that for me.
RDC: Your work is often about boundaries that people encounter but are rarely able to
cross. Yet you were not caught in the suburbs of Paris. You have crossed many boundaries.
KA: The more I cross boundaries, the less I like it. Why? Look at my photographs of the
concrete block beach nicknamed Rochers Carrs. This huge, 1970s construction was
built in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Algiers by the Algerian Socialist govern-
ment. Many young people would try, through the sea, to reach the ferries, get inside,
and go to Marseilles or Spain. When they decided to build this beach, they thought to
use architecture and urbanism to close off the neighborhood so people could not escape
via the Mediterranean. It was once easy to go into the sea from the beach, but now it
is very steep and dangerous. This is a kind of belt that confines the people of this neigh-
borhood. When you stand on these blocks, especially at the end of the day when the
weather is very clear, you can see the light of Spain. Residents live with the fantasy
of escaping from their misery in Europe.
So I grew up in between France and Algeria. I remember my cousins in Algeria telling
me, Kader, youre so lucky. You can go to France and come back. We cant. At the age
of 18, I started to tell them, You should come to France and see where we are living,
30 Sculpture 29.1
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Untitled (Plastic Bags), 2008. Empty plastic bags, dimensions variable.
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because the difference between the concrete blocks of this beach and the postmodern
ugly city where we live, which works as a jail, is not great.
Ren Descartes said that the difference between two things is an analogy that they
share. This analogy is the link between them. The walls built by the Algerian government
and the housing projects built in Europe and America do not separate populations but
link them strongly and historically. Through my work, I am trying to show people that
they may be building walls, but they are also making links. Its exactly what happened
with the Berlin Wall. It was aimed at separating people, but history was stronger, and it
linked west and east. The opportunity that I have today to travel and to cross the frontier
makes me aware of this situation. It makes me aware that people are dreaming of something
better, but in reality, they will find exactly the same misery that they have in Algeria.
RDC: It seems to me that this desire for a better life on foreign shores could be applied
to numerous communities across the globe.
KA: Im taking my cultural identities as the basis of a reflection. I am trying to use my
own culture because I have a reference in it, especially in Sufism, which is a Muslim sect
very close to Buddhism.
RDC: Many contemporary artists who pull from personal experience use themselves or
representations of themselves to manifest their ideas. You take your experience and
create works or installations where you are not present.
KA: I think that the notion of absence is very important. Let me tell you the story of the
plastic bag works. One late night in the
winter, I was in Paris, walking from my stu-
dio to my flat. In the middle of the avenue,
I saw 1,500 people standing and waiting, a
huge rectangle of a crowd waiting behind
an invisible line. I decided to sit on a bench,
and after 20 minutes, a truck came. It
stopped about 15 meters from them and
opened. The crowd moved forward, and
people in the truck distributed food. I was
thinking about political issues in art and
asked if they needed people to help. So,
every Monday and Friday for two hours, I
gave to these people a box of sugar, a bag
of rice, a bag of flour, and a carton of milk.
One day, a man asked me for two rations,
and I put them in his bag. He went with his
bag to a bench and took out all of the goods
and went to a grocery. He probably went
to sell everything to buy alcohol. But he left
the plastic bag on the bench. On this non-
windy night, the plastic bag stayed standing
Sculpture January/February 2010 31
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Ghost, 2008. Aluminum foil, life-size casts of womens bodies, installation view.
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up on the bench for two or three hours.
And I realized that this was the answer to
what I had been looking for and thinking
about for many years. The emptiness inside
the bag and surrounding the bag is maybe
the sharpest legacy of what I want to speak
about. I am fascinated by the fact that the
bag kept the shape of the goods that this
man carried. It testified to the misery
of these people.
RDC: This absence reappears in many of
your works. In Sleeping from Memory, you
carved individuals out of foam mattresses,
and your elegant installation Ghost uses
the hollow shell of a woman kneeling in
prayer formed out of tin foil.
KA: The first person who spoke of this
theory of emptiness was the Chinese phil-
osopher Lao Tzu. Man creates things, but
emptiness makes the meaning of the thing.
If you look at the work of Henry Moore,
for instance, it is the emptiness that makes
the sculpture exist, not the sculpture.
If you think about the emptiness of Yves
Kleins The Void, it is the absence that is the
presence. So, what I was thinking about in
Ghost is that the trace of the person who
has been inside this thing is stronger than
the person herself. Foucault said that this
emptiness has a history. Its not an empti-
ness, but a historical reference of a moment.
When you see this, you think that in order
to keep this shape, something has to have
happened.
RDC: Where does the notion of repetition
come in? In Skyline, you fill a room with
refrigerators, Ghost has rows of tin foil fig-
ures, and the oil drums in Black and White
create a large grid. This is quite different
from Yves Klein or Henry Moore.
KA: There are many different ways to rep-
resent something. Descartes used to say,
How do you represent emptiness if not by excess? How do you represent emptiness,
absence, lack of ethics, and lack of everything? You make it stronger by using its oppo-
site, which is fullness, excess, pollution, and war.
RDC: So your way to amplify the emptiness is by continually repeating the imagery so
that the emptiness, in fact, fills the space.
KA: Its both. I represent the emptiness as physical empty things and as a temporal
thing. This plastic bag is like Ghost, an ephemeral shape. If I crumple it or destroy it,
this will stay in your mind as an experience. For me, this temporal experience is anoth-
er way to show emptiness as a temporal notion, as a thought in time. With the plastic
bag sculptures, you are not speaking about something that will stay for eternity, that
has to be conserved in a museum. You show the fragility of emptiness, and you show
how an artwork is only about experience.
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Black and White, 2008. Oil barrels, installation view.
Untitled (Glass Cube), 2007. Glass and mirror, 20 x 20 x 20 cm.
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RDC: Is this why you often use such ephemeral materials? Tin foil, plastic bags, foam,
and bird seed are not commonly used in sculpture.
KA: Obviously the idea of ephemeral matter belongs to the importance that I give to
emptiness not only as a physical notion, but also as a temporal and historical one. Robert
Filliou from Fluxus used to say that art is something, which makes life more important
than art. Im following this kind of thinking in making life more interesting by art.
What I like in found materials is the notion of reappropriation. When I was a child,
the reason I would make my own toys was not for the result, but for the process. The
process was the toy. As soon as my toy was finished, I destroyed it. What does that
mean? Today, you can buy children the most beautiful, amazing, technical, and complex
video games. A child always is more interested in playing with a string or a piece of wood
and a knife. So the notion of reappropriating found matter in art, for me, expresses
something that I think we are missing in our environment. Im not speaking ecologically:
it has to do with the unconscious. It has to do with the childs fantasyany child in the
world, but particularly in the third world.
As I said, Im definitely feeling in between
something and the other. Feeling in
between, for me, means to take from one
part and the other and mix them together
to build something different.
RDC: Many of your recent installations
include architectural spaces that visitors
have to navigate: the beds in Sleeping from
Memory that you have to walk between,
the refrigerators in Skyline that you have
to navigate around, and the tin roofs of
Kasbah, which visitors walk on. What is
it about putting people into these situa-
tions that you find interesting?
KA: The relationship that we have with art
Sculpture January/February 2010 33
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Kasbah, 2008. Mixed media, dimensions variable.
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can be many different things, but in the
end, it is experience. The experience that
you have with a Henry Moore sculpture or
a Barnett Newman painting is subjective.
We can both appreciate the same Newman
painting, but well definitely not have the
same feeling because we are not the same.
This is why it is interesting to be human.
I think it is very important that when you,
as a viewer, leave a work, whether you
have been physically involved in it or not,
what remains is the experience.
RDC: Yes, but you were physically moved
by a painting on a wall, a Vermeer, yet
you dont create things that hang on a
wall, you make environments. Why?
KA: I read this from a very interesting
French architect: What is most interesting
in an architectural project is not the
building you have to build or the one that
is going to be in front of you but the
emptiness that will separate your build-
ing from the other. The in-between
space in sculpture, for me, is more inter-
esting than the sculpture itself. I think
of sculpture not as the sculpture of full-
ness but as the sculpture of emptiness.
The relation you have as the viewer with
all this absence is something that speaks
to you deeply, unconsciously, and that is why, many times, people do not under-
stand my work.
RDC: Rochers Carrs, the concrete block beach that you spoke about earlier, has appeared
in your work many times. Youve photographed it, drawn it on the wall, and even
re-created it in sculptural form. How do you translate a memory into a physical reality
and capture that entity?
KA: The drawings came first. I drew it, totally unconsciously, in the Lyon Museum in
France. Then, I went to visit a friend in Algiers. I thought, Its been a long time, Id love
to see if Rochers Carrs is still here. When I arrived, I photographed it. So the link between
the drawing and the pictures is very close. After that, I built the architecture in the Henry
Art Gallery, which had more to do with what we were speaking about before. The empti-
ness between the blocks is definitely linked to the emptiness between the housing blocks
where I grew up. The violence, the dangerous world of the suburbs, existed in the streets,
not in the flats or in the condos.
RDC: But then you went back to photograph Rochers Carrs again. What makes these new
images different?
KA: The second series came because I felt that I missed the human presence in the earlier
work. If you follow my work, youll find that I care a lot about humanity in photography.
Showing the empty landscape of Rochers Carrs is very aesthetic. But I would rather that
the images be closer to my ethic, and my ethic is to show the real actors of the situation:
young teenagers waiting. It is important for me that these pictures show the young people
watching their mythologies or their fantasies of the myth of the West.
RDC: Is it because of this work that you were invited to do Holy Land?
KA: Holy Land was presented for the first time in the Canary Island Biennale. They invited
me to do something about the issue of boat people from Africa who try to reach Europe
through the Canary Islands, because the islands are part of Spain. I decided to work again
on the unconscious impulse to improve your life. It is not only something that has to do
34 Sculpture 29.1
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Rochers Carrs, 2008. C-print, 80 x 100 cm.
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with economics; it has to do with issues
of existence.
In Africa, mirrors are something special,
in between fiction and reality. My aim was
to create something that you could see
from far away. It is a tough work. It looks
very shiny and peaceful, but its very
ironic. From far away, they see diamonds
on the beach; but then when they are
close, they see that it is only a mirror
with their reflection, the same as what
they left.
RDC: So it goes back to what you said
earlier about the irony of Algerians
searching for a better life in Europe but
then finding the reality of what it is like
to live in the immigrant-populated sub-
urbs of Paris.
KA: It reminds me of something that my
father once told me. He said, You know,
Kader, when you immigrate, the most
important thing is not the country you
leave or the world you will find, it is the
journey. I think that I am following him
in this in-between land. I am always in
the journey. Maybe the world will change
one day when we think more about the
in between, about the journey.
Rebecca Dimling Cochran is a writer and
curator living in Atlanta.
Sculpture January/February 2010 35
Above: Holy Land, 2007. 45 mirrors, dimensions
variable. Left, top and bottom: Oil and Sugar #2,
2007. Two stills from video.
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EXTREME
PRECISION
Margaret
Evangeline
BY D. DOMINICK LOMBARDI
A Conversation with
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Margaret Evangeline has long experimented
with aesthetically resistant materials, mak-
ing work that deepens the immediacy of a
moment. She is perhaps best known for her
use of gunshot and mirror-polished stainless
steel. In recent videos, she experiments
with sounds and actions collected while
shooting the steel panels of a commissioned
sculpture. Evangeline was born in Baton
Rouge, Louisiana, and earned an MFA from
the University of New Orleans. In addition
to numerous national and international solo
shows, she has produced several site-
specific installations, including a floating
work on the River Thames in London and
Gunshot Landscape, which is in the per-
manent collection of The Fields at Art Omi
in Ghent, New York. Last fall, a mini-retro-
spective of her work, Silver Bullets and Holy
Water, was shown at the Ogden Museum
of Southern Art. Evangeline is currently
working on a mid-career monograph, ten-
tatively titled Uneasy Waters.
D. Dominick Lombardi: On my first visit to your Chelsea studio, I saw the
work that you made by puncturing a pliable reflective material with your
high heels. As in the gunshot works, you are dealing with things like sexuality
and gender, which could lead to the conclusion that you make feminist art.
Is that a main concern for you, or is it simply in the eye of the beholder?
Margaret Evangeline: Theres a lot in the eye of the beholder. I wouldnt use
the gun if I were a guyit would be a double negative. The feminine bal-
ances out aggression. Its more about Zen and the mark. I collaborate with
laborers and shootists over time; I dont just walk out the back door and start
shooting. The planning and set-ups that I have to do bring gradual enlight-
enment about gender, identity, and tensions between the classes. The shot
is a violent awakening, a decisive moment, like Cartier-Bressons moment.
His body is the instrument, releasing all he knows into that one perfect shot.
The stiletto-heel punctures were part of a video that I made around Hurri-
cane Katrina, with horrific media images and Randy Newmans Louisiana in
the background. Subvert that. Take the power back. Turn theyre trying
to wash us away into the heels releasing transcendent energies, like punc-
tured African power figures. Its about the bodys relation to the creative
process. Thats feminism too, in a way, but here its larger. The post-Katrina
installation that I did in New Orleans, spreading river dirt and seed in a
derelict cottage, was about that, too.
DDL: Would you say that the gun and rifle pieces are your primary expression
and your other pieces relate back to those works? If so, how long have the
shooting pieces been the center of your work?
ME: The rifle is primary to my expression in that it keeps me clear and immedi-
ate. Even when I paint in a more traditional way, there is a reciprocal rela-
tion to the shot-metal paintings. When I was in New Mexico, in 2001, at
the invitation of the Santa Fe Art Institute, I began to wonder what I could
do there that I couldnt do in New York. I should mention that this was a
residency for New York City artists affected by 9/11. Up until then, my work
was process-oriented, using transparent paint on giant steel canvases to cre-
ate a space connected with the void. Realizing that I was in the midst of a
gun culture in New Mexico, I seized the opportunity to create instant voids
in the metal surfaces. I set out for the West Mesa of Albuquerque with a
borrowed collection of arms from a military historian, including a Reising
Sculpture January/February 2010 37
Opposite: Gunshot Landscape, 2004. Mirror-polished, shot
stainless steel, 2 views of work installed at The Fields, Art Omi
International, Ghent, NY. Above: Zen and the Art of Marks-
manship, 200809. Pine needles, oyster shells, paint, mirror-
polished, shot stainless steel, 46 x 89 in.
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M60 submachine gun. It was an experiment that became the prototype for my ongoing
series using weaponry. What I discovered (which I hated to admit at the time) was that
the kick from the rifle had a healing effect. It physically released the residual reactions,
the emotional wounds, that I had been holding on to while looking out of my studio into
the ruins of the Twin Towers. A lot of people were still holding on to tears and mental
wounds. My intention, my wish, for our culture was then and is now to find a way to
heal through symbolically embracing our wounds, clarifying our thought processes
to regain our identity, our equanimity.
DDL: Were these your first experiences shooting a gun?
ME: No, my grandfather taught me to shoot before I started school. I like to think that
he was on to something there, sharing a skill with me that possibly ran counter to the
Acadian-American tradition, initiating a girl into this part of sustaining life on the farm.
DDL: In Louisiana?
ME: Yes. We had lots of squirrel gumbo, with BBs rolling around in the bottom of the
bowl. Hunting became an occasion for sharing. Cuisine and music were the arts. It wasnt
a visual culture, but I realize now that I drew my connection to land (and space) and
labor from it, and that is the foundation of my visual aesthetic and process.
DDL: When you shoot today, is there a return to a time when there was more of a con-
nection to the cycle of life?
ME: It was a good feeling in that it was a gift shared, enhanced in meaning and value
through the tradition of the gift economy of that time and place. My exclusively French-
speaking grandfather was finding a way to communicate with his exclusively English-
speaking granddaughter. Years later, in my first use of the gun after so much time,
there was a negative feeling. It immediately sent the cold chill of history through me.
We were in a different time, mediated through the Kennedy assassinations, Martin
Luther King, Vietnam. Again, these things
are stored in the body, released in that
one perfect shot. The image reflected in
the shining steel is now distorted, but it
candidly unfolds in a changing, almost
stop-action, slow-motion image.
DDL: You frequently talk about Zen. Can
you elaborate?
ME: Before I transitioned from New Orleans
to New York, I had been reading Eugen
Herrigels Zen in the Art of Archery. It
probably started with that. Then Lao Tzu.
Then a Native American student shared
teachings and practices with me. These
experiences support the way that I develop
space in a painting. I dont think of my
paintings as abstract. They project space.
Acadian Louisiana, by the way, is probably
the flattest, hottest, wettest plain in Ame-
rica. The Hudson River outside my Chelsea
studio is another reference.
DDL: Is there a meditation process when
you make these shots?
ME: Yes, because it disconnects you from
thought, in the Zen tradition. People ask
38 Sculpture 29.1
Left: eXile, 2007. Video projection, installation view. Right: Lightning One, 2006. Mirror-polished, shot stainless steel, fluorescent tube light with blue gel, 72 x 30 in.
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how I compose the works: its with total trust in the accuracy of feeling and sound.
The sound composes it.
DDL: In the piece at Art Omi, you displace reality with a highly reflective, bullet-riddled
work suspended in a wooded area. You address how one perceives space and timeand
you pass that on to the viewer, by placing these reflective forms not in a gallery, but in
the real world. Does your work happen organically? How much do you think about how
the work changes the location?
ME: That is what its all about. Multiplying spaces. The work at The Fields Sculpture Park
was made on site, at Art Omi, with a rifle borrowed from a local farmer. I shot it on the
grounds. The current environment and its pre-colonial history inspired the piece.
DDL: Its a violent thing to shoot metal. Yet this work is calming, like a portal to some-
place else. Even with the holesthe obvious understanding that this is a physical
thingit still looks like it is and isnt there. It borrows and moves the color and the
atmosphere of the environment. Its changing space and time. That kind of thing,
whether it is subliminal or obvious, makes you think differently about realityabout
space and timewhich is Zen in how it both simplifies and expands. Is that what you
are hoping people think?
ME: I hope so. Some people do. They feel peace in the works, or a sense of wonder.
Someone told me it was like an Alice-in-Wonderland door. In Albuquerque, my insight
came when the metal surfaces filled up with the big sky. I wanted to take them back
home with the memory of the sky still in them. Thats the connection. I dont get it
from shooting indoors at the range on 22nd Street.
DDL: Was it the same feeling with your floating piece in Londondid it give viewers that
displacement, that change?
ME: Yes. After multiple trips to London, I chose a site on the Thames near the place
where the pleasure boat Marchioness collided and sank in 1989. The rivers seductive
dangers and its beauty came together on this site opposite the Tate Modern for Saved
from Drowning. The pontooned, mirrored
work rose and fell with the tides and, best
of all, seemed set on fire at twilight.
DDL: When you are shooting, is there a
point in the process when you stop and
walk up to the piece and look at it closely?
Its the opposite in painting, when you
are right up at the canvas, and then you
have to move back to see if its all work-
ing together.
ME: Oh, thats insightful, the opposite of
painting. And its irrevocableonce you
make the mark you cant change it.
DDL: You must be familiar with some of
William Burroughss workhe also shot
as part of his artistic expression.
ME: Well, Burroughs often used wood, and
to my mind, he intentionally left behind
shot, splintered, untranscended matter as
an artifact. No doubt there was Zen in his
process. Hunter Thompson said that Bur-
roughs shot like he wrote, with extreme
precision and no fear. Thats a compelling
artistic expression.
D. Dominick Lombardi is a writer living in
New York.
Sculpture January/February 2010 39
Above and right: Saved from Drowning, 2008. Punctured and torn polished stainless steel, 50 x 30 ft.
Work made for Drift 08, on the River Thames, London.
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Acts of reading have multiple dimensions yet leave no material trace: this
is the subject of human carriage, Ann Hamiltons recent installation circum-
navigating the rotunda of the Guggenheim Museum, which was on view
last year. Pulleys, guillotined books, a silk-sheathed bell that rang as it raced
down the buildings iconic spiral, and a Reader who operated the pulley sys-
tem all demonstrated how Hamiltons work can transform a space through
minimal means. Through performances, objects, and installations, she
explores the sensory and spiritual dimensions
of our bodies and the spaces we inhabit, delv-
ing into ways of seeing, touching, hearing,
and reading that are as tactile and immediate
as they are subconscious and invisible.
40 Sculpture 29.1
Above and opposite: human carriage,
2009. Cloth, wire, bells, books, string,
pipe, pulleys, pages, cable, air, and
sound, site-specfic installation at the
Guggenheim Museum, NY.
ACTS OF
FINDING
BY JAN GARDEN CASTRO
A Conversation with
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Jan Garden Castro: Alexandra Munroe, curator of
The Third Mind, American Artists Contemplate Asia,
18901989, said that she chose you to create the
only new work for the exhibition based on your previ-
ous projects, including mercy with Meredith Monk,
corpus at MASS MoCA, and myein at the Venice Bien-
nale.
1
Does spiritual belief or Buddhism play a role
in human carriage?
Ann Hamilton: I dont have a specifically Buddhist
practice. When I first met with Alexandra, I tried to
articulate how one accounts for an influence that doesnt come from a par-
ticular discipline or focus of ones daily life but is absorbed more the way that
the atmosphere makes something as-yet-unnamed present to you. How do
you become aware of other ways of thinking about relations in the world?
Or, what might a spiritual practice be outside of the institutions that one
grows up with in a suburban Midwestern landscape? That conversation quickly
led to the influence of texts. Through books you can become exposed
to something completely untethered from its source. It comes in, initially,
42 Sculpture 29.1
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Above, left and right: two details of human carriage, 2009.
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almost without context, to make or carve a space for another way of thinking
or being in the world. That process of transmission became the basis for the
conversation that formed this work. How do you account for that dawning of
awareness? Or this thing thats everywhere but nowhere? How do you start
to make work that is not only about its materials, but also about how we form
our attention? How we listen? The active state of coming to attention? My
own meditation, in some ways, is through the space that the work allows.
JGC: How did you find your voice as an artist?
AH: My first making hand is a textile hand. Its more than a sensibility, its a
way of ordering and understanding the relationships between things. Meta-
phors of cloth come forward. If you look at human carriage, the bell carriage
coming down and passing through all the levels of the museum is a little bit
like the shuttles unspooling movement as it crosses the raised threads of the
warp on the loom. The vertical cables form the system for lifting, as well as
all the horizontal ramps that descendthe piece is literally weaving through
and stitching through all of that physical space, and in its passage, it becomes
a kind of connective tissue. Its not unlike the way a weft thread passes
through a warp to structure a whole cloth. Even though I didnt start out
thinking, Im making some kind of weaving or loom in the museum, those
relationships, however different in scale, do come forward, often in the for-
mal relationships that things come to take as I respond to the architecture.
JGC: And the railing was attached to the rotunda as though it were stitched.
AH: Yes. The great crew at the museum, together with my engineer Marty
Chafkin, worked on the details of how the system would meet the building.
The curvature of the bell carriage railing followed the contour, irregularities,
and volume of the rotunda. Its structure was completely dependent on
the museums. Theres a mutualitymy work has form only as it meets the
architecture.
JGC: The guillotined books resemble ancient texts on the thinnest parchment.
And they, too, are stitcheddeconstructed and then reconstructed. How
did you work out the design elements, the process,
and the texts that form the whole metaphor of
human carriage?
AH: It was a long, circuitous route. We started out
thinking how a line or a word or a phrase might literal-
ly be carried down the ramp by the bell carriage.
Our attempts were based in textileswe were look-
ing at resist methods and woven words. I was going
to work with a bibliography of the show. None of that
yielded anything satisfying. It was literal and too
concrete. For me, it didnt address the core: how,
when one reads, one is always reading in relation to
the history of everything else one has readhow a
new work enters and changes the landscape of whats
already there. As these new texts arrive from varied
cultural contexts, its difficult or impossible to trace
Sculpture January/February 2010 43
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Above and right: two details of human carriage, 2009.
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and account for how even the partial reading of a
textwords, lines, paragraphs, chapters, or full
booksstarts to change how we think.
I kept wanting to use the materials of the shows
bibliography in a way that didnt present them as sin-
gular, particular texts. So, with a friend, Kathryn Clark,
who has a letterpress studio, I was discussing the
question of a particular, quotable line from a book and
the book as a field of lines. We began to play around
with her guillotine cutterI had given up on the tex-
tile aspectand we made a cut. The little fan-shaped
piece that slices out of the text when you cut through
it is like the wing of a bird. Its completely alive, and
the pattern you see is dependent on where the blade
slices through the printing on the page. And when you
lay that cut surface down, its very much like a piece
of ikat warp or cloth. So, all of a sudden, in that ges-
ture of cutting through the middle of something, I had
both my textile and my text.
In the installation, multiple books, cut and re-joined,
function as counterweights in the system. Those texts
arriving from different places stitch together to become
something else. At the bottom of the piece, you have the re-made books,
but you also have the lines that fall from the pile. Recognitions are found
because they fall out of their original house of context. Think of these cut-up
texts as that history. The self-consciousness that I started out withof
selecting lineswas impossible. In fact, you cant select the lines. The lines
have to fall out. Allowing that process, for me, is partly what the piece
addresses: to allow myself to not knowto fall open to a process of making
that is an act of finding.
JGC: Did you come up with the concept before Alexandra found The Third
Mind title (referring to William Burroughss cut-up method)?
2
AH: We had many discussions, and I think that the title, for Alexandra, came
quite late in the processas it does for me. I need the conversation. I need
to talk about the possibilities to help settle things into relations. Its abstract
until I am in the space responding. So its a long processletting go of my
idea about something and responding to its actual presence. The different
making processes that went into this allowed me to see and understand it
in ways that I could not when I was still outside of it.
I started by asking, What is the right gesture and question not just for this
show and the context of the space but in this moment? I wanted to do
something that could pass through and could be everywhere and yet nowhere.
Although there is a mechanismit has that Rube Goldbergian qualityit
has no motors or electronics. I was thinking about the scale of human ges-
ture. Each time, the bell carriage goes down differently. Its affected by
weather; it never behaves exactly the same. It has a kind of repetition thats
not a repetition, and this form of attention relates to much of the work in
the show.
JGC: Would you call this a contrast with an installation like corpus where
the building was breathing as well as dropping and picking up papers?
AH: Its a cousin, but its means are different. corpus was a pneumatic, air-
powered structure, but, still, when each piece of paper fell, it was indeter-
minate, and it never fell in the same path, never landed in the same place.
Here, Audra, Heather, and Shanti, the three attendants, animated and took
care of the structure, along with weekly checks, fiddling, and making sure
that everything was OK. The ongoing life of the piece in the space has made
me think a lot about acts of care. Audra was here almost every day; the work
was alive in the ways that it changed, and she was the registrar of that change
and its felt quality in the atmosphere of the space.
JGC: Corpus, myein (1999), and kaph (1997, a Sanskrit word referring to the
hands palm) all involved giving buildings anthropomorphic qualities such
44 Sculpture 29.1
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Above and left: phora, 2005. 4 spinning speakers, sound, turning video projection, 130
Iris prints, suspended refugee tent, 7 spinning sousaphone ends, clothing, and wood
table, 5-room installation at La Maison Rouge, Paris.
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as breathing, bleeding red dye, and weeping tears. Are these ways of
humanizing buildings or viewers or both? Did myein and kaph also permit
viewers to experience a sense of loss or grieving?
AH: I dont know if its humanizing buildings. I think that the work finds its
form as it meets the edge of the building, so the edge of the building is the
membrane, the skin. To make that skin animate, in some ways, has long been
an interest of mine. Just as clothing is the first architecture for the body, its
thinking about that membrane of the skin and the cloth and extending it to
the next scale.
One thing that ties all of these projects together is the element of descent:
the water (in kaph) collects into a droplet and rolls down the wall; the powder
(in myein) falls and is dispersed, the paper (in corpus) falls. Theres also hori-
zontalityhow, say, the horizontality of reading, of walking, of movement
through time intersects with this constant action of descent. Its in the felt
quality of that movement that we acknowledge our own finitude, cultural
loss, and amnesia. And yet theres also something, in this case, quite light
about it. While you feel the tug of gravity and the fall of something, the ani-
mation of the bells and the journey there can be quite wonderful.
JGC: In your installations in other countries, such as phora (2005), at La
Maison Rouge in Paris, and voce (2006), at the Contemporary Art Museum
in Kumamoto, Japan, you draw on the history and culture of each site to
create sound-video-object installations. Could you talk about your processes
for creating at each site and whether viewer participation changes?
AH: My process is one of response and listening to what comes to my atten-
tion when I visit the architecture or spend time in a place. All projects are
accompanied by a fair amount of reading and research, but it isnt exactly
scholarly. Its like going for a walk: youre casting around for the thing that
helps you start to make sense of your perceptions in response to being some-
where. Responding to spaces usually involves understanding their histories,
but the pieces never narrate that. For me, it concerns making whats present,
but not necessarily visible, shareable in some sense.
At some level, all work is participatory because we choose to stop and
respond whether were physically doing something or standing silently. In
Japan, I worked with a small theater group whose members stood on tables
and made the sounds of bird calls; people were invited to join them and were
quite willing to do this thing that normally would make one self-conscious.
I hadnt done anything like that in a while, but in Denver, I worked with
a choir and a composer on a reading between the volunteer singers and the
audience, which had a spoken part. Im interested in the experience
of standing in a group together and speaking out loud or chantingwhat
happens when voices blend together to become a larger whole. Again, if
you think about all the threads, its another textile
metaphor. Ive been trying to understand my attrac-
tion to these forms. We dont usually gather in public
to speak. Were usually an audience. I dont think
a lot of us are in choirs. But, to me, that structure is
interesting.
I was just in Laos filming the boat that we finished
for The Quiet in the Land. To listen to the chanting
and to experience how the speaking voice acts as a
connective thread is moving to me. Im thinking about
a place for that kind of experience in secular culture.
I think that we have longings to join together, not
necessarily in the community, but as strangers, to
witness or to make. It will take me a long time to
sort out what relationship these things have to the
form of the work.
When we were making the books for human car-
riage, I hired students, people volunteered, and the
studio was a busy hive of making, which allowed the
individuality of everybodys hand. It was so satisfying
to be doing this kind of manual labor quite intensely.
If you really look at it, you see how different they all
areevery action, every gesture. Yet with the bell
carriage, every passage is invisible. So, the way Ive
tended to describe this piece is that the lightness
and sound of the bell hand off to the weight and
silence of the book. And the visibility of the labor
hands off to the invisibility of the movement. The
piece is about one thing allowing the other: theyre
woven together in a mutual system of one needing
and allowing the other.
JGC: You collaborated with Meredith Monk on mercy,
and those sounds were also part of corpus. How do
you calibrate sounds, words, and rhythms?
AH: Meredith can hear in ways that I cant. Im very
moved by her work, and Im a better listener for having
worked with her. The rhythms that I pay attention to
are often physical rhythms. Here, for example, I spent
a lot of time talking about and thinking about the
speed of the bell carriage with Marty: if its at this
speed, its going to do thisyou can imagine all the
Sculpture January/February 2010 45
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Detail of clothes roomfromphora, 2005.
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possibilities. What is the sound made by the bells?
We brought all sorts of bells in here and tested them
in this space. Im not working so much in composition;
the sound is found, sometimes, by what is at hand
and by paying attention.
JGC: Im struck by how you use the body in your work.
In mercy, when Monk has a camera in her mouth,
the mouth is performing the function of the eye, and
thats like synesthesiaswitching sensory signals.
AH: Many simple moves in my work take one sense and
place it in the physical location of another. Its partly
that Im motivated so much by the tactile sense: How
does seeing become tactile, and how does touching
become a form of seeing? Or how does the mouth,
which is this place of speaking and eating and every-
thing else, become an eye? And how is the mouth a room? Its almost a
Surrealist displacement, but thinking about that physical shift as a shift of
category, the imaginative base of the work then can shift.
JGC: In a similar way, in reach (2005), you created seven long-handled, rusted
spoons with various-sized holes in their bowls. Is this a cautionary tale?
AH: Many things are tied up in simple objects. A spoon is one of the first
tools that extends our reach. Yes, each has a hole because, in some ways,
were never filled. We have such insatiable desire, which is something that
Buddhism addresses. How do we live with and how do we change that vora-
cious appetite to consume things, material, time, and experience? Its
acknowledging that dilemma. We can reach and touch and hold, but we cant
ever really have.
JGC: As Joan Simon points out in An Inventory of Objects, the book first became
an image in your 1987 piece, the earth never gets flat.
3
You frequently allude
to memory, records, acts of reading. What are you working on now?
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voce, 2006. Wood tables, tube radios, desk lamps, kimono, plastic wrapping, 8 spinning speakers, 2 spinning video projections, performers, and sound,
3 views of multimedia installation at the Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto, Japan.
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AH: We live, obviously, in a culture where literacy and the amount of time we
spend using words is enormous. We are text-based. Its one of the central ways
that culture has been recorded. For me, textiles is another. What I love about
active reading, and the process of reading, is being immersed, falling into the
fold between two pages, completely in the somewhere else that is the book.
This recognition of the ability to simultaneously be inside and outside is paral-
lel to the experience of being a body. Were always both an inside and an out-
side. The book mimics the body. So its not a surprise that the book is a central
cultural artifact. And while reading something might forever change us, it
doesnt leave a physical mark. The immersiveness of reading and the broadly
associational kind of thinking that is engendered by the solitary, silent act of
reading are analogous, for me, to a making space. For years, Ive been won-
dering if the experience and process of reading could be like an act of drawing.
How might that come forward in terms of form? Im still in that question. Its
one thread that continues to be drawn forward into different projects. The rela-
tionship between a line of thread and a line of text is one of those central,
structuring aspects in my work. They come forward together.
I just came back from Luang Prabang, probably my final visit to The Quiet in
the Land project. We built a boat based on walking meditation halls in the for-
est. I was back to film it and also to make a gift of it to a particular monastery.
Im beginning to look at that video footage and other
video from over the years. Im also working on a project
for the Pulitzer Foundation that involves word and
image, which are part of the foundations history and
what people associate with the name and with news-
papers. The Tadao Ando building is such a sculptural
containerthe outside sculpts the inside. A class
that I taught at Washington University with my
husband Michael Mercil, looking at the Cahokia
Mounds, the Arch, and the Pulitzer building as impor-
tant St. Louis places and cultural monuments, began
the research on the project. It takes me a long time
to research and find the form. Then there is a fury of
making at the end.
JGC: Dave Hickey called you a mythic archaeologist of
the everyday, investigating invisible states of being.
4
Why should art concern itself with the immaterial?
AH: Because its everything.
Jan Garden Castro is a writer living in New York.
Sculpture January/February 2010 47
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meditation boat, 2009. 3 views of 36-meter-long boat with 19.6-meter-long meditation hall. Work produced in Luang Prabang, Laos.
Notes
1
Thanks to Ann Hamilton, to Hamiltons studio head Jamie Boyle, to
Alexandra Munroe, and to the Guggenheim PR team for facilitating this
interview.
2
On March 25, 2009, Alexandra Munroe sent an e-mail response to this
question: This is an interesting connection which, though obvious and
poetic, has never occurred to me. Anns work came first; the selection of the
title came much later in the process.
3
Joan Simon, Ann Hamilton: An Inventory of Objects 19842006 (New York:
Gregory R. Miller & Co., 2006), p. 59.
4
Dave Hickey, Ann Hamiltons Spoons, in Ann Hamilton at Gemini 2004
2005, reach, (New York: Gemini G.E.L. at Joni Moisant Weyl, 2006), p. 12.
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Los Angeles-based Rebecca Ripple first intrigued me with word works that seemed to
hollow out a place for the human body in banal furnishings. thigh/blind (2001), for
instance, spells out thigh by cutting the word, letter by letter, into aluminum blinds;
in another piece, elbo is sewn into a Home Depot rug. By 2004, she was creating room-
sized word sculptures like tongue (after Rubens). Built from pristine, hand-sanded layers
of Styrofoam, the bulbous letters spelling tongue (varying in height from four to seven
feet) make a fluid composition based on the figures in Peter Paul Rubenss The Rape of
the Daughters of Leucippus (c. 1617). Through a wide-ranging formal tenacity, Ripple
asserts that the medium for rational discourselanguagecan be cowed into serving
as her physical plaything. But how does a sculptor come to be inspired by Rubenss fluidity
and sexuality?
Ripple was brought up in a 1970s Catholic, suburban Long Island household that
embraced rationality above all else. As she describes it, she was steered away from the
culture of New York City or any thought or deed connected with sensuality. At the heart
of her work is a collusion of contrasting
perceptions, joining the visceral percep-
tion of the body and the reasoning per-
ception of thought. In her recent work,
Above: lang(uage), 2009. Wood, plaster, and lace,
36 x 48 x 60 in. Left: me please me, 2008. Fabric,
acrylic paint, plaster, and wood, 48 x 120 x 94 in.
Orgy in the Sky
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she makes the point by literally fleshing out symbols,
words, and physical articles from her past. In lang(uage)
(2009), Ripple turns a dining room table into a body
by cutting the top into folds and encasing it in plas-
ter. Long tendrils emerge from under the table skirt,
and a breast erupts from the top. A handmade, bob-
bin lace tablecloth spelling out the beginning of the
word language spreads across the table in an
apparent attempt to impose order and tradition on
a writhing body.
Ripple, who received her MFA from Yale in 1995, is
incredibly adept at adapting difficult trades to her
work, like the excruciatingly detailed 17th-century bob-
bin lace in lang(uage), which took more than two years
to make. Ripple married the patterns traditional four-
sided geometry with the five- or six-sided geometry of
bubbles, thereby representing the unstable structure of
the spaces between cells and pairing manmade with
natural systems. When asked if her investigations into
lace and other materials preceded the idea for the
work, Ripple replied that she is driven conceptually, but
is always seeking a place where the materials have
a language of their ownwhere the dialogue goes in
a direction beyond my original conceptual intention.
This was definitely the case in her re-creation of the
plaid that she and her sister wore in their Catholic
school uniform skirts. Ripple painted the parochial sta-
ple on sheer gauze in me please me (2008), a sculpture
that asks to be chosen and demands to be pleasured.
Eight entities, really stumps of full figures, clad only in
perfectly pleated skirts, lurch with masses of entwined,
tendril legs. On their smooth white plaster backs, ori-
fices appear to spit up and swallow letters spelling
please me. Ripple based the forms of the moving
mouths and the teetering legs on the surging bodies in
Rubenss The Fall of the Damned (c. 1620). The humps
are derived from the curves of bathtubs, referencing
one of the few sensuous forms found in the suburban,
middle-class architecture of her home.
Ripple began to investigate her adolescence as she
became more conscious of my Catholic [upbringing]
when the Bush administration was talking about abso-
lutismreligion was a structure that we were being
inundated with in the news. I was angry and trying to
leave it behindbut then I decided that my upbringing
was a microcosm of the issues of the daya religious,
rule-oriented worlda patriarchal omnipotence. The
work is about the construction of myself, where it is
cultural, where it is nurture.
flock of Nuns (2009) offers another odd and capti-
vating combination of baroque sensibilities and 1970s
childhood dreams. Here, more than a dozen gilded
brass forms outlining a distinctive type of religious
headgear hover above the viewers head. Ripple grew
up watching the late 1960s television series The Flying Nun, featuring
Sally Field as a fun-loving nun who was able to get out of any situation,
often with the aid of the long extensions on her hat. In flock of Nuns, Ripple
wanted the work to make that leap from something concrete to something
transcendent. I want the nuns to be freeI want you to be in the place of
decadence yet all couched in religion and morality.
To spell the word God (200607), Ripple chose materials that originally
attracted her as a seven-year-old child, her first Catholic school shoes. While
the base is blockish and almost architectural, the letters are expertly sewn
with folds of velvet and patent leather. She began creating a sexy shoe but
ended up with a pedestrian Hush Puppy, eschewing style for immediate mater-
ial properties: the patent shine, the matte plush finish of velvet, and the per-
fect stack of the heel leather. Ripple says that she was seduced by the materi-
als, and my intention is to seduce you as well. God contains the fantastic
appeal of new shoes and the solemn austerity of a reliquary for innocent faith.
For Ripple, clothing, home decoration, church ornamentation and, espe-
cially, Rubenss paintings in her work reference the small places where I
had sexuality as a child. Sensuality seems to overlap so much with the church.
It is interesting to me that [the church] allowed so much nudity. That it was
all above board. Its an orgy in the sky. A way of being a good girl and having
the bad as well.
Jessica Rath is a Los Angeles-based artist and writer.
Sculpture January/February 2010 49
Above: tongue (after Rubens), 2004. Foam and wood, 89 x 108 x 144 in. Below: God, 200607.
Leather, velvet, glass, aluminum, and wood, 40 x 24 x 18.
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John Atkin
BY ROBERT C. MORGAN
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Sculpture as metaphor has recently been
encroaching on the territory of the late
Modernist anti-aesthetic of the literal, that
of the Minimalist cube. Yet sculpture
requires a context, and that context exceeds
the presence of the work. It requires a
sense of space or a conceptual framework
in relation to space. This extended context
has been the bane of three-dimensional
art since it began to vacate the cathedral
faade in the early Renaissance. Today,
there are too many site-specific commis-
sions that take a purely material/formal
approach without considering the space
around (or within) the forms as part of the
work. For artists who work on large-scale,
public sculptures that depend on a spatial
as well as a formal encounter for a proper
reading, this is a central problem. All too
often, commissioning agencies and archi-
tects forget or do not understand that
sculpture is more than the thing itself. Its
intention is not merely to construct an
iconic logotype. What the object becomes
after the artists conception and execution
of the work is something else. (Could Gustave
Eiffel have predicted that his cast-iron tower
would become the logo for thousands of
travel agencies worldwide, not only in
Paris but throughout Europe?) For sculp-
ture to resonaterather than simply
to exist in public spacerequires a clear
attentiveness to the space around it.
I would like to situate this argument in
relation to the exemplary work of John
Atkin who, I believe, represents a new
tendency in British sculpture, one more
involved with the metaphor than the meto-
nymthat is, less literal and less reduc-
tive in its presentation. Atkin borrows his
structures from industrial and military
sites, compiling and layering the parts in
relation to one another. This is apparent
in The Navigator (2004), a 13-foot-high,
Cor-ten steel sculpture directly descended
from an earlier, smaller-scale multimedia
work, Rattletrap (1999), which suggests a
wheeled accessory for the transport of a
cannon. The Navigator is currently installed
outdoors at the Orwell Riverside Develop-
ment in Ipswich, England. One can also
see Atkins appropriation and lamination
of borrowed signs in two large-scale Cor-
ten and stainless steel works from 2004
Sentinel, located near the seaside in Syd-
ney, Australia, and Dal Fabrros Chariot,
currently sited in the lobby of Beetham
Towers in Liverpool. Two cast bronze works
from 2007, also public commissions, The
Clicker and Landing Gear, are situated in
Leicester and London, respectively. In both
of these works, cast industrial components
are placed together in formal, yet irra-
tional juxtapositions, thus suggesting a
transformation from utility to non-utility,
from kinesis to stasis, from time-based
manual labor to a formally constructed
artistic vision.
An important aspect of each of these
works is verticality. When sculpture came
down out of its architectural niche, it main-
tained its verticality. The viewer looks up at
sculpture installed on a plinth: thus the act
of viewing is from below, not on a horizon-
tal plane as in the field sculpture of the
70s. In Atkins work, this vertical rise makes
perfect sense. In Dal Fabrros Chariot, for
example, the result is neither decoration
nor logo. One might say that the work
occupies a space and has a memory. It
Sculpture January/February 2010 51
Opposite: NZ323135, 2005. Cor-ten and stainless
steel, 5 meters high.
Above: The Navigator, 2004. Cor-ten and stainless
steel, 18 ft. high. Below: Dal Fabrros Chariot,
2004. Cor-ten and stainless steel, 30 ft. tall.
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seems to reference the disappearance of an
industrial past and the history of early
20th-century industrial warfare, an issue
given considerable attention by Atkin in his
Scorched Earth exhibition of drawings at
the Sylvia Schmidt Gallery in New Orleans
in 2002. In retrospect, it is somewhat
uncanny that this exhibition was mounted
less than a year before the invasion of Iraq
by the Bush administration (representing
American democracy), with the British
government as its stalwart ally.
In urban commissions, Atkin confronts
the problem of how the space around the
sculpture is seen through various struts,
dye-cut forms, and armatures, all beauti-
fully conceived and executed. He is forced
to consider his work in terms of the visual
environment, particularly in close, proxi-
mate view. How is it possible to project the
formal qualities of the work without urban
signs and accessories interfering with the
piece? In the simulated commodity cul-
ture of the 21st century, advertising insists
on having its place, a slogan or logo of
some kind, given that high-end sculpture
does not project commercial meaning. Its
existence on the site has other purposes.
A case in point would be one of the most
ambitious works in Atkins career, Hard
Bop, installed last year as part of the
so-called urban renewal project at the Fill-
more Center Plaza in San Francisco.
Like many of Atkins public-sphere sculp-
tures, Hard Bop went through numerous
permutations before the initial prototype
phase. When Atkin works on large-scale
commissions, he is working as part of
a team, with architects, developers, and
sponsors. This, of course, has both advan-
tages and disadvantages. To design, con-
struct, transport, and erect a sculpture on
the scale of Hard Bop does not happen by
the artists effort alone. Such projects
require time and coordination in order to
get the intended result. Inevitably, things
change along the way. From first concept
to completed form, what the artist hopes
for and what the artist gets do not always
correspond a point made evident in the
writings of both Duchamp and Paul Klee.
The idea and the actual work as presented
in time and space are two different things.
For Hard Bop, the emphasis shifted
somewhat from Atkins earlier concern
with industrial/military artifacts toward
more site-specific content and form. For
much of the 20th century, the Fillmore
district in San Francisco was known as a
music haunt, particularly for bebop and
jazz, but also for acid rock and, to some
extent, the folk revival of the 60s. Atkin
decided to think in terms of music
specifically rhythmic form in relation to
musical notationsby finding a modular
element that he could use as a repetitive
motif in his vertical assemblage. For fas-
teners, instead of rivets, he decided on
the curved shapes of garment templates,
which he fabricated in stainless steel, and
replicated machine head keys, which are
used in tuning guitars and cellos. To design
and fabricate the modular elements, he
worked with U.K.-based Nelson Engineering.
Hard Bop has a majestic quality remi-
niscent of an earlier Cor-ten and stainless
steel piece, NZ323135 (2005), installed
outdoors in Darlington, England. The
advantage of NZ323135, with its vital,
asymmetrical compression of steel blocks,
is that it has a relatively open view. You
see the sculpture in an appropriate land-
scape setting with enough space around
it. In contrast, Hard Bop is decorated with
various intrusions that should not be there.
The sculpture is mounted on an elevated
cylindrical base with a logotype in front
52 Sculpture 29.1
Landing Gear, 2007. Cor-ten steel, stainless steel,
and rope, 132 x 30 x 30 in.
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advertising the new office development,
called the Fillmore Center. An elevated,
curved shape stands slightly behind
it with landscaping and palm trees that
appear to serve no other purpose than
interfering with a clear view of the sculp-
ture. It is the typical fate of public art.
Instead of the sculpture being shown
in such a way that it declares the space
around it, a design team is invited to
decoratethat is, fetishizethe plaza in
a way that obstructs it.
Atkins forms are inventive and his man-
ner of cohering and compressing them is
at times brilliant. He offers hardness of
material transformed into neo-metaphysi-
cal endurance. The metaphysical aspect of
his work is worth exploring: Aristotle once
proclaimed that whatever is beyond the
physical sciences in terms of empirical
data is therefore metaphysical. Atkins
sculpture is both. The material is physical.
It expresses physicality, but it also goes
beyond the literal aspect of form to com-
pile a history of hard materials since the
Industrial Revolution. What is hard, yet
beyond hard, is also spirita gathering of
elements into a holistic presence as if to
challenge the void left in its place. Atkins
sculpture makes clear that there is an
opportunity to rethink the voidthe larger
visual environment in which sculpture is
conceived, made, and installed. It is not
only an aesthetic or a design issue, but
also a political and educational issue. When
it comes to public art, everyone pretends
to be an expert, whether they know any-
thing or not. Art becomes an emotional
issue, and everyone wants to become a
part of it. This is not altogether negative.
But in the case of a remarkable sculpture
like Hard Bop, it is important to make a
clear argument not only in terms of popular
opinion, but also through a clearly
informed and educated point of view.
Robert C. Morgan is a critic, artist, cura-
tor, and contributing editor for Sculpture.
He also lectures at the School of Visual
Arts and is an Adjunct Professor at Pratt
Institute.
Sculpture January/February 2010 53
Hard Bop, 2008. Stainless steel, granite, con-
crete, and water, 23 x 8 x 8 ft.
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For Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo, its all about pleasure
receiving and sharing spiritual pleasure, the kind that begins
in the mind and takes its inspiration from the play of light and
the passage of time. Over the last 50 years, the industrialist
and real estate investor has amassed one of the worlds pre-
mier collections of American and European contemporary art,
with an emphasis on Abstract Expressionism, Pop, and Mini-
malism, as well as Light and Space and environmental works.
Starting in 1956, when he purchased several paintings by
Antonio Tpies, Panza established a pattern of buying not only
in depth, but also from an artists seminal period. Despite the
space limitations of his 18th-century neoclassical residence,
located just outside of Milan, he commissioned spectacular
permanent installations by Dan Flavin, Robert Irwin, Marian
Nordman, and James Turrell. Overlooking the city of Varese,
Villa Menafoglio Litta Panza became the perfect foil for works
of radical look and meaning.
Sculpture January/February 2010 55
BY SARAH TANGUY
Opposite: Joseph Kosuth, Self-Defined, 1965.
White neon tubing, 3 x 28 x 1 in. This page:
Richard Long, Carrara Line, 1985. Marble, 563
x 53.125 in.
GIUSEPPE
PANZA
A Conversation with
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Born in 1923, Panza studied art in his youth. Later, when he
began to think about collecting, he focused on contemporary art. It
was less expensive than old master work, but more importantly, it
expressed the reality of present-day society and culture. At first, he
frequented galleries in Milan. Then, realizing the need to expand
his search, he went to Paris and other European destinations. But
it was his trip to New York that proved pivotal. Immediately he
sensed that America was spreading a new kind of culture. Equally
transformative was a trip to Los Angeles, where he was seduced by
the deserts sweeping panorama, space, and light.
In the early 1980s, Panza began donating and selling portions of
his holdings to select museums in order to share his vision with
larger audiences. The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in
Washington, DC, is the most recent institution to benefit; chief
curator Kerry Brougher selected 39 works from Panzas collection
and exhibited them as a group in 200809. Broughers relationship
with Panza dates back to 1984, when he organized a show of 80
Abstract Expressionist and Pop art works bought from the collec-
tion by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Over the
years, they have remained friends, and Brougher had an epiphany
in 2007 when Panza explained that his collection had mostly con-
ceptual pieces left: What we did in one fell swoop is help fill a gap
in our collection in terms of conceptual art, as well as Light and
Space and Minimalist works. I really give Dr. Panza credit because
[he] was willing to acquire this work shortly after its creation when
it wasnt particularly validatedIt was maybe being discussed in
places like Artforum, but it wasnt being written about a lot.
The Panza Collection embodies an existential optimism, which
seeks to comment on essential conditions of being. By and large,
the works chronicle activity on the part of the artist and, in turn,
require activity on the part of the viewer. Often made of ground-
breaking materials, they favor experimentation in content and pre-
sentation while embracing possibility and hinting at transcen-
dence. This philosophical stance underscores tensions between the
finite and infinite, the substantial and the ephemeral. With a focus
on phenomenology and language, the Panza works create con-
sciousness-altering experiences if you allow yourself time to sur-
render and consider their internal methodologies.
56 Sculpture 29.1
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Douglas Wheeler, Eindhoven, Environmental Light Installation, 1969. Neon, 145 x 232 in.
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Sculpture January/February 2010 57
Above: Jan Dibbets, The Shortest Day of 1970 Photographed in My House Every 6 Minutes from Sunrise til Sunset, 1970. 80 gelatin silver prints on 10
aluminum panels, 4.75 x 555.875 in. overall. Below: Lawrence Weiner, REDUCED, Cat. No. 102, 1969. Text on wall, installation view.
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Sarah Tanguy: Were you always interested in a work for its spiri-
tual meaning as opposed to its commodity value?
Giuseppe Panza: I collect art because I love beauty, not to make
money. This contact with beauty is the most rewarding thing
that you can experience in life because its a pleasure thats end-
less. Its a pleasure that grows stronger with knowledge of the
work. This relationship to art is a necessity for me because every-
body wants to be happy, and I found the best way to be happy.
ST: Were you always attracted to work that requires the viewers
participation in the creation of meaning?
GP: My task as a collector is to understand art. What is important
in contemporary art is the need to understand something new, and
this demands intellectual activity. Sometimes we see work and
images that differ from the ones we know, yet we cannot say why
they are different. Trying to discover why something is different is
very important because it gives us a new knowledge about reality.
In some aspects of life, I have more knowledge because artists
have taught me how to have the best interpretation of reality.
ST: And this relates to your notion of beauty. For a lot of people,
if you mention beauty, they think of a statue of Venus. They dont
necessarily associate beauty with the intellect or the beauty of
thinking. And this is something that you emphasize.
GP: When I look at a book on art or when I go to an art museum,
I ask myself, Why does an artist work this way? The motivation
relates to the structure of a society. It reflects the main idea that
differentiates our reality from others. Its very beautiful to search
artists images from various periods of a civilization for the differ-
ences in reality underlying their interpretation and production, to
draw a relationship between art and philosophy, art and society.
ST: Youve said that Minimalism makes a clear, direct connection
to some of Platos ideas.
GP: Minimal art presents a vision or a way of thinking about work.
Thinking is the most important, the most beautiful reality of being
human, and we think more than any other animal in nature. This
is a great privilege that offers beautiful possibilities. Everything
that shows the quality of the way we think and what we can do
with thinking is a great pleasure. For instance, the Hirshhorn
building, which is based on the square, is a great example of the
beauty of thinking because the square is a basic shape of reality.
ST: Its a variation on squaring the circle and harmonizes with
the serial quality of many of the works on display. Lets talk about
how you like confrontations between the new and the old. Here,
the art and the building are about the same age.
GP: Yes, but Gordon Bunshaft was a great architect. You look
around and see beautiful shapes. When there are beautiful shapes,
you can be sure to make fine installations, but you have to pay
attention to the relation between the work of art and the architec-
ture. Ive never done a show in a building that I didnt like. I had
the happy situation to begin collecting in a big, 18th-century house
with a great variety of large rooms that could be used in a very free
way because they were mostly empty, with little decoration and
beautiful proportions. In this context, the art looks beautiful.
ST: In thinking of your collection, time and light stand out as
crucial themes. For example, Hanne Darbovens idiosyncratic
notation of numbers and dates tracks the unfolding of time.
There are works like Larry Bells Untitled floor sculpture that exist
both in and out of time. This piece, made from two intersecting
panels at once transparent and reflective, optically transforms
into an open cube from certain angles. Then there are those that
seem to transcend time entirely, such as Doug Wheelers Eind-
hoven, Environmental Light Installation, which creates a hovering
rectangle out of four white neon fixtures nestled in the floor,
ceiling, and walls.
GP: These works, which I collected from Los Angeles in the late 60s
and early 70s, deal with light. I understood this art, because in
order to reach Los Angeles, I traveled through the desert. There
is nothing there except the circle of the horizon, the blue sky, and
the light of the sun. To be in the desert was the greatest experience
of my life, because the desert is filled with everything. Its not
empty. We sense an extremely powerful presence.
58 Sculpture 29.1
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Joseph Kosuth, Box, Cube, Empty, Clear, GlassA Description, 1965. 5 glass cubes with black lettering, 40 x 40 x 40 in. each.
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ST: Also, regarding time, many of the works require some kind
of faith on the part of the artist and a future caretaker to keep
the work alive. Take Douglas Hueblers Duration Piece #12
Venice, CaliforniaPlum Island (Newbury Port), Massachusetts,
which gives instructions to make an exchange of sand every 10
years.
GP: An artist like Huebler gives importance to daily facts of life
that otherwise would be forgotten and disappear with time. He
is showing you that every aspect, every event, of reality is some-
thing important.
ST: Many of the works have text and numbers, both to explore
the representation and reception of language as visual art
Joseph Kosuths lettering Self-Defined comes to mindand to
draw attention, as you are saying, to everyday activities. These
artists debunk the idea that quotidian life is boring. They make
you aware of the process behind their production. You have to
focus on subtle differences.
GP: If you look at the works on display from this perspective, there
is a big difference. This art is important in showing us the reality
that everything changes, that there is something above everything.
We realize in Wheelers work that light is endless.
ST: Some people think of Minimalism and conceptual art as cold
or cut and dried. But, for me, they carry their own special beauty
and convey a sense of optimism. The possibilities are infinite and
feed on the unpredictable richness of viewers associations.
GP: I believe that Minimalism and conceptual art can also have
a very strong visual impact. But this depends on the work being
shown correctly. If you put only a few works on each wall, this
power becomes clear, and the meaning of each work becomes
evident. For instance, two years ago, I made a Kosuth exhibition
at my villa. His work consists only of reproductions of vocabulary.
Its very abstract. It is information very far removed from reality.
He demonstrates with great strength how our way of thinking
relates to our intuition, our mind.
ST: Do you think that your collection has changed over the years?
GP: Yes, but some essentials are always present. In 1957, I began
to collect Franz Kline, who, despite appearances, has some very
strong connections with Kosuth because they both confront the
anxiety of wanting (and failing) to reach a goal that is above every-
thing. Kosuth tries to show us that the meaning of speech is
related to something that we can only understand through intu-
ition. We believe we speak in a logical way, but instead, we always
use metaphor, which is not reality; its something near reality.
Sarah Tanguy is a contributing editor for Sculpture based in
Washington, DC.
Sculpture January/February 2010 59
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Robert Barry, Untitled, 1983. Silver and red pencil on blue wall, installation view.
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Sculpture January/February 2010 69
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Bttst WKt
Aaron Heino
Galleria Sculptor
Aaron Heinos recent sculptures con-
vey an intense and unsettling pres-
ence. They not only embody move-
ment and the expression of psycho-
logical states, but also speak of
chemical constituents, immiscibility,
and the propagation, release, and
containment of energy. While their
hard, reflective skins reference the
luster of car bodies and candy-coat-
ed apples, a number of the figures
intimate life forms. The rich color,
mirrored surfaces, and unusual
shapes of these works capture our
attention and draw us toward them.
The ensuing voyage of discovery
immerses us in their visual complex-
ity and encourages the ascription
of narrative.
encn| (2009) consists of two
formsrelated species of mol-
lusksthat rest one atop the other
in a manner that invites anthropo-
morphism. The configuration sug-
gests an uneasy relationship. While
a portion of the white lower body
curves upward in a modest gesture
of accommodation, the red form
curls in recoil. Contrasting contours
further the notion of dispassionate
co- existence. Best reflecting that
which happens to be closest, the
slick surfaces of these organisms
contradict their yearning for dis-
tance.
The onomatopoeic titles H|ccc|
and |o| (both 2009) bestow aural
credence to goo in the process of
propelling itself through space. The
former reminds us of Michael Phelps
doing the 200-meter Butterfly.
Simultaneously muscular and aero-
dynamic, this mercurial presence
slips through the air. Seeing the
space around it condensed in its
glossy and distended surface only
reinforces the impression. In |o|,
a large bulbous shape spontaneously
rises out of a placid rectangular
pan of luscious, thick red syrup.
Intimating an oversize dollop pulled
up by an invisible tongue or the
emergence of an inchoate creature,
the work hovers between represent-
ing a cloyingly sweet treat and the
beginning of a sci-fi adventure.
Two slightly older works were some-
what less effective in this presenta-
tion. /|| ||no c| |c.e (2008), with
its mottled color, textured surface,
and general configuration, too liter-
ally recalls some of Henry Moores
plaster studies. And 3| ||| (2008),
a large, shimmering stainless steel
comet trailed by a clutch of tentacle-
like streamers, suffered from being
segregated and restrained within
the tightest of gallery spaces. Sadly,
the installation of this technically
reviews
Aaron Heino, Tenant, 2009. Poly-
styrene and painted fiberglass,
130 x 200 x 160 cm.
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70 Sculpture 29.1
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and visually impressive structure
smacked of melodrama.
Heinos production demonstrates
a deftness of form and material.
Though his work indirectly references
Robert Murrays painted metal
constructions and the dynamism of
Boccionis |n|oe |c|m c| tcn||n
o||, |n c:e (1913), his visualiza-
tions seem to counter our presence
rather than mirror it. They conjure a
fantastic array of images, including
sputniks, chemical concoctions, and
entities at once muscular and
teleplasmic. Moreover, the irregular
topography of the sleek surfaces
creates a multitude of optical effects,
from shifting sets of spatial perspec-
tives to tonal variations. In his
statement, Heino laconically notes
the personal starting point of his
ideas, the work ethos through
which his sculptures develop and
take part in his everyday life, and
his interest in combining contradic-
tory elements in skillful ways.
In essence, he has been true to his
word. In my view, the inventiveness
and inherent humor of Heinos work
make it a visceral experience.
|c|n 6c,e|
8t bstrt ttb, toWWtc1t cu1
Edward Tufte
The Aldrich Contemporary
Art Museum
The pivot point of Edward Tuftes
recent array of large-scale, outdoor
sculpture was a battered-looking,
Brobdingnagian-scaled aluminum
fish (|c||||e m||e). Suspended
quietly over a small exterior court-
yard, this wry personage twisted
freely from its overhead wire, peer-
ing with one fishy eye or the other
at museum visitors through the
glass walls of the Aldrichs ground-
floor galleries. With this fishbowl
role-reversal (fish outside/gallery-
goers inside), Tufte dryly personified
a central issue governing his work
namely, the primacy of the eye.
His exploration of three-dimen-
sional forms within a natural con-
text was superlatively integrated at
the Aldrich, which was transformed
for this exhibition into the most
serene of sculpture gardens. Tufte
pays Zen-like attention to natural
elements either translated through
or considered against his fabrica-
tions: a maze of stainless-steel pan-
els, polished into suede-like light-
buffers, served as a visual foil not
only for the landscape that
appeared in the intervals, but also
for woolly sheep.
Orchestrated into surprising opti-
cal events, these sentient relations
generate an essential tension: the
tension between binocular vision
and the perception of three-dimen-
sionality. One could make the point
that its a classical distinction
objective versus subjective, optical
versus tactilethough the differ-
ence in this instance is certainly
arguable. Tuftes sculptures are
nothing if not visually lush: every
surface is breathlessly aware of
the possibilities of finish (or unfinish)
and exults in materials with no-
expense-spared lavishness. His
attention to setting is impeccably
sensitive, poetic, and alive to the
mutability of light and the change
of the seasons.
Tuftes forms, well documented
inside the museum with drawings,
maquettes, and a documentary
video, spring from both the natural
and the manmadefrom tools and
flowers, twigs, and the dappled
light that trees cast on the ground.
He employs every medium imagin-
able, vaulting space and dividing it,
framing it and slicing it into mar-
velous intervals, drawing on it, liter-
ally, as a Chinese calligrapher
might. Additionally, these works are
marvels of technical precision (one
of the two massive elements of
|||||cne, a giant, perforated paren-
thesis, weighs 14,000 pounds
yet pivots freely with the touch
of a hand).
Tuftes sensitivity to light reads
not only on his amazing variety of
surfaces, but also in his orchestra-
tion of the cosmic shadow-play of
sculpture outdoors. His installations
act like sundials, as well as static
monuments anchoring the chang-
ing of the seasons and proscenia
slicing out the shifting view of the
traveling observer. These works cre-
ate serene spaces, regions of con-
templation unsullied by the messy
happenstance of the world; like the
carefully raked sand of a Buddhist
garden, they somehow tune out the
noise of confusion.
Tuftes forms are considered in
an essentially two-dimensional
mannerpurified silhouettes and
exquisite, rhythmic intervals, a film-
makers dreamscape. The Aldrich
installation celebrated the beauty
of a rational strategy: as a whole, it
offered 360 degrees of perfect view-
Above: Aaron Heino, Whooosh, 2009.
Polystyrene and painted fiberglass,
50 x 170 x 80 cm. Left: Aaron Heino,
Slurp, 2009. Polystyrene and painted
fiberglass, 90 x 70 x 90 cm.
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Sculpture January/February 2010 71
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pointsas perfectly objective in its
considerations as the Parthenon,
and equally calibrated to the human
eye. While this work offers a nod to
the Classical Greeks (rational, opti-
cal, reductive), its strongest affinity
is Zen in spirit (austere, meditative,
harmonious).
|c|||:|c |cc||
8os1oW
Beth Galston
Boston Sculptors Gallery
|om|nco 6c|oen (/e||c|; is the sixth
version of Beth Galstons strange
and engaging plants whose nuclei
are LED light bulbs. Her first ver-
sion, a blue-lit garden, sprang up on
piano-wire stalks; viewers could
walk among them and even sit on
the floor amid their calm blue haze.
This aerial version is like snarled
vines, forbidding entry but blossom-
ing into clusters of golden inflores-
cences. Here, the wires play an in-
your-face technological role but add
a touch of the aesthetic, glinting
copper-red in the ambient light.
One can, in fact, trace the various
tangles back to their tiny transistors
and thence to larger wires, which
coalesce and vanish discreetly into
the floor.
As a fellow at MITs Center for
Advanced Visual Studies early in
her career, Galston played with light
in other forms, at first screened
through scrim, later through edgier
whimsies like a floor-to-ceiling corri-
dor of rose-thorn icicles cast in
translucent resin. Her work has
always combined a close and loving
attention to nature in its infinite
variations with a mastery of certain
contemporary technologies. At one
time or another, she has cast ure-
thane resin blocks containing oak
leaves, gingko leaves, magnolia and
sweet gum seed pods, rose petals,
leaves, and thorns.
Although Galston has experimented
with various forms and media,
the common thread running through
her work has been a Zen-like focus
on the here and now at the expense
of any agenda. If theres a message
in her pieces, it would be a look-
at-this challenge to the senses, an
insistence on the visual. Galstons
early installations often beckoned
viewers to move among the parts.
Her screen |coe on stilts at
Socrates Sculpture Park was best
appreciated by visitors intrepid
enough to climb a ladder and walk
around the birch trees trapped
inside.
Galstons first experiments with
light, filtered or indirect, have
morphed into a frank and direct
use of LEDs, while her resin casting
here produces flowers that on close
inspection prove to be white-oak
acorn caps. Earlier LED gardens
sprouted seed pods cast from resin,
a somewhat freer and more engag-
ing form.
Visitors entering the aerial gar-
dens dimly lit room confront what
look like batches of unblinking fire-
flies. As vision adjusts, we see
flower clusters and are eventually
able to appreciate subtleties: the
unequal numbers of blooms in a
given cluster, the varied brightness
of the flowers, the insouciance
of acorn caps mimicking blossoms.
Although they appear to spring
from their viney wires, the clumps
of blooms hang invisibly from the
ceiling. What I took for ambient
light glowing on the wires is actually
artfully contrived with a spot from
above.
Galston has said that the work
does not play quite as well in total
darkness. Its unfortunate that it
has to compete with too-visible
industrial ducts and pipes on the
ceiling of the Boston Sculptors
gallery. I would like to see it in a
space all its own.
|c||, tc||c:|
Left: Edward Tufte, Rocket Science
#2 (Lunar Lander), 2009. Steel, alu-
minum, and porcelain, 35 x 70 ft.
Below: Beth Galston, Luminous Gar-
den (Aerial), 2009. LEDs, cast resin,
and electrical wire, installation view.
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72 Sculpture 29.1
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BotoKt, MAssAcMust11s
David Poppie and Roger Sayre
Open Square Gallery
Where have all the cassette and
video tapes gone? What about vinyl
records? Many have ended up
in Roger Sayre and David Poppies
quirky collaborative show, ReMixed
Media. Once upon a time, our
homes and cars were filled with
these objects of everyday enjoyment.
In fact, if you are over 30, these
once ubiquitous items transformed
your life, making it easy to dupli-
cate and travel with your favorite
sound or movie. However transfor-
mative at the time, we now know
that tapes were only the beginning
of a revolution in communication
and entertainment that has left
much refuse in its wake.
Poppie is known for his use of dis-
carded and recycled materials, com-
piled en masse to create complex
abstract compositions. His materials
have ranged from tea bags to
matchbooks. Sayre creates playful
work often using photographic
materials. Together, they have creat-
ed a rich body of work that is con-
ceptually interesting, formally
engaging, and visually compelling.
Each piece in this traveling exhibi-
tion uses obsolete audio and visual
media, primarily magnetic audio and
videotape and vinyl records, to com-
ment on societal trendshow widely
embraced materials can become
useless in the matter of a few years
when something new and better
(CDs, iPods) comes along. Sayre and
Poppie use these discards in such a
way that viewers come away with
an aesthetic appreciation of them
as materials. As with many regularly
handled objects of daily use, they
escape genuine notice. Recast as
medium, we can see so much more
in them: the color spectrum and sub-
tleties of leader tape in household
cassettes, the sheen and tones of
the tape itself, the translucence and
tones of the tape shells and cases,
not to mention the rainbow of
brightly popping colors created by
light passing through vinyl records
onto photographic paper as seen in
the large wall piece, |c
Although there are several two-
dimensional wall pieces, most of
the work is sculptural. A large floor
|cnoc|c is made from transparent
plastic cassette cases. The triptych
||n t,:|e, has three rings, each
made from 200 slightly wedge-
shaped audiocassettes hanging 12
feet off the ground. Black, brown,
and gray magnetic tapemiles of
itspills out like a waterfall, creat-
ing a massive snarl when it reaches
the floor.
If you are a believer in reuse and
recycle then ReMixed Media will
suit your ethic and aesthetic. The
second life offered to these objects
takes them beyond the idea of
product. Poppie and Sayre trans-
form them into materials with a
grace and physicality that we may
never have appreciated. Seeing
them this way forces us to wonder
about other things that we throw
away.
/||c |e| o|c
Ntw osK
Jessica Stockholder
Mitchell-Innes & Nash, Madison
Square Park, and Senior and
Shopmaker Gallery
Using eye-opening color, skewed
geometries, and ubiquitous materi-
als, Jessica Stockholders recent
Manhattan exhibitions metaphori-
cally re-purposed and enlarged
three different spaces and genres:
indoor sculpture, outdoor sculpture,
and prints. In Sailcloth Tears, at
Mitchell-Innes & Nash, eight large
installations combined bright hues,
forms, and objects in painterly
and sculptural ways. Each collaged
sculpture was variously mounted
on the wall, floor, and/or ceiling in
an allusion to traditional frames as
privileging painting over sculpture.
Stockholder suggests that today we
can mount and frame things from
every direction and point of view.
Her two- and three-dimensional
materials, from textiles to ordinary
objects, to a green ceramic rooster,
to ribbed book packaging, have
been stitched, painted, cut, or oth-
erwise altered. The shows title con-
tains references and homonyms
from cloth sailing to sales to cloth
ripping.
Top and detail: David Poppie and Roger Sayre, installation view of ReMixed
Media, with (foreground) Mandala, 2008, audio casette cases; and (back-
ground) Ring Cycle, 2008, audio casette tapes. Below: Jessica Stockholder,
Flooded Chambers Maid, 2009. View of installation at Madison Square Park, NY.
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Sculpture January/February 2010 73
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The ordinary objects form nar-
ratives, puns, and punchlines. In
Number 4, six large Ikea lights
wrapped in rope webbing and
strapped to the ceiling face a pieced-
together figure on an aqua rug
with pink, flowered, chartreuse, and
other patches. A pedestal serves as
the figures lower half, subverting
its traditional role of separating art
and lifting it aloft. The figure holds
a metal rod topped by a white cloth
flower with drooping petals and
a tri-color center. Each color is a dif-
ferent thing with its own edges, yet
the work feels unified and suggests
larger metaphorsmaybe a color-
ful persona with mental or physical
baggage (baskets on her back)
who is seeing the light.
In Flooded Chambers Maid, a mul-
timedia, outdoor installation at
Madison Square Park, Stockholder
re- considered color field painting.
A color-filled, 1,300-square-foot,
arrow-shaped platforma porous
rubber/metal gridserved as a
seating/play area on the parks Oval
Lawn. Nearby, a turquoise-painted
seating area suggested a trompe
loeil pool. From the top of the
bleachers, looking in the other direc-
tion, one could see a collage of red
and green plastic objects set inside
a partial circle and diamonds plant-
ed with yellow, white, orange, and
chartreuse flowers. In an accom-
panying catalogue, Stockholder
says, I like to use bleachers, couch-
es, and chairsthings that position
the viewerbecause this position-
ing calls attention to point of view,
and also because it acknowledges
the body of the viewer as part of
the experience. I also enjoy giving
people a place to sit here in the
park. And the bleachers are holding
part of the image. In a way, by
providing seating and play areas,
the installation became the field
and the swirl of viewers became
the art.
Park and field themes continued
in Swiss Cheese Field at Senior and
Shopmaker Gallery. Here, 13 multi-
layered, mixed-media monoprints,
creatively fabricated in a hydraulic
press at Two Palms, New York,
popped out from the walls. The
fields and frames of each work cre-
ate a range of positive and nega-
tive, major and minor forms, hues,
tensions, textures, and relation-
ships. Using paint, cubes of insula-
tion, and other three-dimensional
materials, these vibrant works revo-
lutionize notions of printmaking.
Jan Garden Castro
N Y
Julianne Swartz
Jose Bienvenu Gallery
In Terrain, an audio installation by
New York-based, multimedia artist
Julianne Swartz, a delicate network
of 100 bell-shaped speakers hovered
just under the ceiling. A tapestry of
voices woven from a range of pitches
wafted around the gallery, presented
as a unique cluster of sonants that
negotiated the architecture of space
and navigated the viewer through
a sonic landscape.
Swartz asked 38 volunteers, both
male and female, to speak as though
addressing a beloved. She recorded
their voices, redirected through 12
channels, to create a web of sound
impregnated with tenderness. Simi-
lar to the chant of a dream-catcher,
the tune is melancholic: I love
you echoed along the gallery walls
and resonated with the audience.
Taboo or meaningless in everyday
usage, the word love assumes a
different tone in Swartzs hands.
She considers awkwardnesswhen,
for instance, both the recorded par-
ticipants and the audience feel
embarrassed to speak or hear this
intimate word uttered in public
to be a productive state, blurring the
boundary between private and pub-
lic, audible and mute.
Above: Jessica Stockholder, untitled work, 2009. Surf board, metal flashing, wire
cable, rooster lamp, metal table stand, cake pedestal, plastic parts, light bulb,
electric cord, hardware, carpet, fabric tape, blue foam, and mixed media, 90.25
x 54 x 16.5 in. Right: Julianne Swartz, Terrain, 200708. Speakers, wire, elec-
tronics, computer software, and 12-channel recorded and composed sound-
track, installation view.
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74 Sculpture 29.1
Not only is the tension between
public and private at stake in
Swartzs works, but spatial organiza-
tion as well. Walking into the gallery,
visitors stepped into a network of
voices, surrendering to their multi-
directional origins and grappling with
the intense phenomenological expe-
rience of being inside a sound.
For Swartz, the dynamic and self-
reflective relationship between listen-
er and installation is essential: the
listener hears and, in this sense, acts.
She worked with acoustic effects for
a number of years, shifting the per-
ception of space by inserting devices
into rather unexpected places. In
the installation cmeu|e|e |c|mcn,
(commissioned for the Whitney
Biennial in 2004), Swartz framed the
museums forbidding stairwell with
nostalgia and the thrill of unexpect-
ed discovery. Her recent site-specific
project, |e cono c| ||||, displayed
at the Jewish Museum, transformed
its space through evocative recorded
tunes, mapping the historical path
of the Jews. These works transform
the high-tech nature of the sensory
devices regulating the distribution
of sound into sensuous and delicate-
looking assemblages.
e||c|n was originally commis-
sioned by the Indianapolis Museum
of Art, and only a segment of it was
displayed in New York: it is a costly
production. Swartz builds up
her robotics to embody fleeting sub-
stances such as sound or light. She
explains that these elements instill
presence without physicality, dis-
guising what we hear for what we
see. She learned her craft from the
composer Maryanne Amacher (her
neighbor in upstate New York), who
derives her musical compositions
from spatial acoustics. By exploring
the broad threshold of perception,
Swartzs works often function in a
liminal field between the percepti-
ble and the evanescent. She trans-
forms the tonal into the visual, the
unremarkable into the magical.
'o||c |||cnc.c
tttvttAWb
Jake Beckman
The Sculpture Center
The limbs and organs of buildings
corridors, bedrooms, officesreflect
the modeling of our bodies. Cracking
plaster and arthritic beams age and
ache, mirroring our own debilities.
Jake Beckman, who has worked as a
researcher in a genetics lab and as
a construction assistant, investigates
the hidden histories and affinities of
our shell-like habitations. He brings
an awareness of the intimate push
and pull of flesh to his architectural
alterations and interventions in
Embodied, adding another interior
layer to the gallery that translated
the sag of skin and its drum-like taut-
ness into a language of common
building materials.
|cno|n (2009) consisted of
a weathered two-by-four braced
between the floor and a section
of faux wall. The nine-foot length
of wood appeared to push folds of
plaster upward, as if the drywall
surface were a loosely pliable
membrane. Similarly, c (2009)
played with perceptual transposi-
tion, drooping in a long horizontal
arc like tired abdominal flesh.
|c:e (2009) studied emaciation.
Ten starved-seeming vertical bars
pushed out from behind as
the walls pale complexion sunk
between them, pinched or sucked
back in.
Beckman builds a prosthesis out of
drywall, polystyrene foam, and joint
compound, then inserts it into or
masks it over existing walls. The
resulting enhancement has the oppo-
site effect to that of most plastic
surgery, drawing attention to hidden
stresses and the effects of age. In this
way, Beckman brings other subjects
into consideration, such as an aware-
ness of the deteriorating infrastruc-
ture of cities and, more broadly, an
evocation of the intricate dynamics
of decay that underpin any smoothly
youthful bloom.
He also treats the contrast
between historical periods, as with
|cno|ns prop, which, like an
upended railroad tie, evoked 19th-
century industrial construction. Its
placement in the hangar-like
Sculpture Center, which was built
13 years ago with a utilitarian
rather than formal agenda, offered
a study in contrasts. The flatly
unadorned main gallery is window-
less and carpeted, more like a con-
ference room in an industrial park
than a Modernist white box or a
revamped factory floor. Beckmans
three works, interacting with the
rooms double exit doors and red
firebox, imported a clear account of
entropy, as well as acts of imagina-
tive identification, into an environ-
ment expressive of aesthetic denial.
That the everyday faade of con-
scious reality requires emergency
perceptual measures to keep it
in place is a notion familiar from
Surrealism, explicitly illustrated in
some of Salvador Dals best-known
paintings, where sagging and prop-
ping are frequent motifs. Beckmans
illusions question the processes by
which we find ourselves reflected in
the world, pondering how deep art
needs to sink beneath daily experi-
ence before it hits a nerve.
|co|c |c\ |||e|
lAWcAs1ts, tWWstvAWt A
Deborah Sigel
Lancaster Museum of Art
Walking into ceramic sculptor
Deborah Sigels recent exhibition,
Suspended Visions, was like walk-
ing into a candy shop, or more
accurately into the type of confec-
tionary where candied violets
and crystallized rose petals dream
of taking their rightful place atop a
multi-tiered wedding cake. Colorful
and luscious, fragile and crackling,
with surfaces that look sugared,
Sigels pieces tempt you to taste
them. Even the type of clay she
uses, Egyptian paste, sounds edible
(a variation on Sicilian marzipan
or Israeli halvah?).
Jake Beckman, installation view of Embodied, 2009, at the Sculpture Center, Cleveland.
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Sculpture January/February 2010 75
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Beyond this surface sensuality, it
becomes clear that Sigels work is
based in mathematics and nature.
In the first room, six-sided, petaled
forms hung in a grid that spread
out along the walls. Unrelentingly
uniform in their placement, these
||cue| have a precise internal
structure, although one begins to
see the intrusion of disorder. The six
points are not always aligned at
identical angles (Sigel had originally
wanted them to be hung so that
viewers could turn them, but insur-
ance restrictions quickly aborted that
plan), the shapes of the metal rods
have slight variations, the colors
range from pink to orange to yellow
to white, and the crazing is entirely
random.
In the second room, a series of
H| hung in a more varied array.
Although Sigel used similar materials
and petal-like elements, here, each
shape relies on factors beyond her
complete control. Unlike the ||cue|,
which are laid flat during firing, the
H| are suspended inside the kiln;
the curves result from the forces of
heat and gravity. Although Sigel cal-
culates weight and balance in order
to estimate the outcome (she had
thought about becoming a math
major in college), she cannot see
how the metal has bent until the
firing process is complete and she
opens the kiln door. The process is a
dance between chance and control,
a tango between artist and nature,
and the result is absolutely beautiful.
The vines of the H| are heavy with
fruit, dangling in the dew of a tropi-
cal rainforest while paradoxically
flaunting their decidedly inorganic
components.
In her use of clay and steel, and in
her fondness for room-sized installa-
tions, Sigel straddles the genres of
ceramics and sculpture. Despite sev-
eral decades of efforts to break down
artistic boundaries, the art world is
still overly fond of such categories.
Sigel finds herself in the company
of artists like Beryl Matthews (who
makes large ceramic, metal, and
neon environments that she often
sets on fire) and Annie Woodford
(who mixes her porcelain forms with
materials as diverse as copper, stain-
less steel, and horsehair).
Unfortunately, the galleries at the
present location of the Lancaster
Museum (it is about to move down-
town) are not ideal for displaying
sculpture of this sort. ||cue| suf-
fered from the distraction of Homa-
sote wallboards and visible seams.
On the other hand, the H| bene-
fited from being shown in a room
where architectural elements (cor-
nice molding and recessed niches)
and shadows complemented their
inherent grace.
/|||n|c |c|,mcu|:
loWboW
Rebecca Warren
Serpentine Gallery
Rebecca Warren likes to play with
established ideas about the nature
of sculpture and the formal ways in
which it is displayed. She appropri-
ates ideas from the work of others
Rodin, Degas, Beuys, and Morris
and reworks them. Warren is an
artist with a vivid imagination, who
uses her familiarity with materials in
a soft and sensitive way to degrade
fixed representational form and focus
attention on the creative process.
to|e (2006) was an attention-grab-
bing opening to her recent show.
Made from a great slab of clay and
then cast in bronze, this totemic, in-
your-face Modernist object changes
its relationship with the viewer when
approached. Seen close up, the hard,
predictable surface, with its heroic
overtones, is imprinted with the
marks of the artists hands and fin-
gers. These indentations and imper-
fections glorify the handmade.
Warrens process of making is not
hidden from view, but placed promi-
nently on displayan aspect of all
the work in this show.
In the same room, |e |e:|cn|:
(2000) spun around as if turning on a
potters wheel or a DJs turntable. As
the work rotates, it offers glimpses of
a half-undressed, haunchy, buttocky
figure in kitten-heeled shoes, emerg-
ing from the clay. Its kitsch playful-
ness is unresolvedsensual Rococo
frivolity in gray mud.
|e|mo| t|om| (1998) had a room
all to itself. Two pairs of thick, heavy,
naked womens legs, with bulbous
calves and bottoms, balance on high-
heeled shoes, the larger one striding
forth. The smaller one, with a pair of
knickers wrapped around its knees,
looks up at the giant crotch of its
larger companion. This is a strange
marriage of the lewd black-and-white
photographs of Helmut Newton and
the girly caricatures of Robert Crumb.
Warrens sympathetic relationship
with clay allows her to push and
pull it into whatever configuration
seems appropriate, as in He /|e
|eco |/|| (2000). In this closely
arranged group, eight amorphous,
upright mounds of inert claysome
of them like lumpy, gnarled effi-
giesstand on plinths. Varying in
mass and size, some are splattered
with paint like opulent Svres fig-
ures. Occasionally recognizable
pieces of anatomy burst forthan
ear, a breast, a nipple, or a penis.
Each squashed and squidgy mass
invites the imagination to complete
its grotesque, half-finished anti-
form.
Left: Deborah Sigel, Flowers (detail),
2008. Egyptian paste and steel, 19
in. diameter each. Below: Rebecca
Warren, The Other Brother, 2008.
Reinforced clay, Perspex, and MDF,
178 x 47.5 x 53 cm.
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76 Sculpture 29.1
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More formal work could be seen
in the central part of the gallery,
where it was not crowded, but
allowed to breathe, with different
materials playing off one another.
Warrens newer pieces are made of
raw steel, whose physical character-
istics create a stark contrast with
carefully placed, whimsical pom-
poms.
Three walls of another gallery
were lined with museum-type vit-
rines reminiscent of Joseph Beuyss
collections of lard lumps and rusty
metal bits. Warrens precariously
wall-mounted vitrines are certainly
not elegant. The inadequacy of their
makingwith broken glass, grubby
frames, and the odd nail poking
outis clearly deliberate. Each vit-
rine contains unassuming bits and
pieces of what appear to be left-
overs from other work, detritus
found in and around the artists stu-
dio. Occasionally, bits of brightly
colored neon glow, highlighting
these strange worlds, each curio
meticulously placed within or on
top of its shabby tank, the odd one
even escaping.
Warren shows great skill in the
placing of her work, and at the
Serpentine Gallery, the individual
pieces were allowed to establish a
flow in relation to each other. The
gallerys light and airy space was an
ideal setting for such a show.
ocn |cooe
8AscttoWA
Tere Recarens
Galeria Toni Tpies
Tere Recarens was born in Arbcies,
Spain, and lives and works in Berlin.
Her early work, which was shown at
P.S.1 in 1999, already demonstrated
a yearning to distinguish a terrain of
her own, intimately related to per-
sonal experiences and her travels to
foreign lands, where she investigates
people and place. She is of a genera-
tion of Spanish artists who emerged
in the 90s and gave their works a
personal and autobiographical focus
akin to Relational Aesthetics. Viewers
often find themselves taking part in
celebratory, recreational creations
that ultimately involve a desire to
fracture the established rules of daily
life, affirming the capacity of art to
evoke change and prompt discovery.
On a trip to Mali, Recarens discov-
ered that her name, Tere, means
karma in Bambara, the language of
the countrys majority ethnic group.
Her recent show, Karma Allum,
examined the meaning of her name.
Recarens traveled to Mali three times
to conduct research, to design text-
patterned fabrics, to share those fab-
rics among the citizens, and to docu-
ment individuals interacting with the
shirts, skirts, dresses, and textiles.
An installation situated in a dark-
ened gallery formed the keystone of
the exhibition. A large flat screen in a
corner continuously played |cc e|e
|cnc|c, a 12-minute video depicting
the production of the fabrics, as well
as related landscapes, languages,
and cultures. We see the residents of
Bamako making the fabrics and
freely relating to the textiles as they
interpret the term tere. Since every-
one has karma, Recarens felt that it
was an open- ended term; thus she
created a stamp to print the cloth
with the terms tere numan [good
karma] and tere jugu [bad karma].
She sought a way to win peoples
confidence and found it by giving her
fabrics to the inhabitants of Bamako
and documenting the process. The
juxtaposition of the video with an
assortment of large, text-decorated
pillows emphasized the material
experience of the virtual perfor-
mance and revealed Recarenss labor.
|o||o| |c|mc (2008), a floor-to-ceil-
ing patchwork quilt made from a
style of colorful African-looking fabric
now produced in China, separated
|cc e|e |cnc|c from the rest of the
galleries. The suspended drapery
formed an intimate space for 6|c|,
(2007), which was installed in a dark-
ened space on the other side of the
quilt. A bed holds artifacts and pho-
tographs from the artists past jour-
neys, while an assemblage of scarves
from different sports (football, hockey,
soccer) and team insignia makes up
the coverlet.
A small display of simple drawings
that Recarens used to solve language
barriers in China was also presented.
One might ask if this type of work is
yet another colonial exploitation of
the exotic and unknown. But
Recarenss journeys and investiga-
tions form a genuine bedrock for her
creative process. She had already
returned to Bamako by the shows
opening to enlarge the project and
expand the video documentation.
||c|ne / ||n
1oKo
Ryoji Ikeda
Museum of Contemporary Art,
Tokyo
Ryoji Ikeda is a multi-faceted artist
who blends music, art, technology,
and mathematics. Some people
remember him as an electronic
music composer who worked for
the performance group Dumb Type,
which toured the U.S. in 2002.
However, few people know that he
also taught art at respected universi-
ties in Tokyo for many years and co-
curated the innovative print show
Lines of SiteIdeas, Forms and
Materialities (1999) in collaboration
with the University of Alberta.
His recent exhibition, +/- [Infinite
between 0 and 1], was divided into
two groups of installations. Audio-
visual installations occupied one
floor. As I entered, I was bewildered
Left: Rebecca Warren, installation
view with (left to right) Their Famous
Auteur, 2007; P/D, 2009; Husband
Nine, 2009; and M.D., 2007. Below:
Tere Recarens, Fucking Glory, 2007.
Wool scarves, 970 x 150 cm.
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Sculpture January/February 2010 77
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by the volume of soundnot noise
but waves of composed electronic
sound, which repeated again and
againand the scale of the large
projected images on the walls. The
installation swallowed viewers up
and carried them into a future uni-
verse, dynamic sounds coinciding
with the visual movement of numeri-
cal computer data. There were sec-
tions of floating architectural draw-
ings and a few images of exquisite
galaxies. Even though the images
were almost abstract, some of the
simulated mechanical sounds sug-
gested animation. Taken away from
the here and now, one found refine-
ment and purity in this dark mono-
chromatic world.
Ikeda is not the first artist to
explore this mix of genres. At
Documenta X (1997), his one-time
collaborator, Carsten Nicolai, circu-
lated acoustic codes and signs
throughout the city of Kassel. Yet
Ikedas sophisticated electronic
sounds and projected images stand
out for their sweeping speed and
movement. His work is neither as
cold nor as calculated as the
mechanical perfection of his Dumb
Type compositions. Instead, he incor-
porates mathematics into the image-
making. He takes each image apart
into the smallest pixel units and
mathematically reconstructs the
data. Commenting on the labor-
intensive process, he says that some-
times he just has to let himself go.
Ikeda received art world attention
last fall, when he had a light instal-
lation projected into the night sky
in conjunction with his show at Le
Laboratoire, a new contemporary art
space in Paris. The public could wan-
der amid a world of colossal lights
shooting into the sky, immersed in
the music. In Tokyo, a more simpli-
fied sound installation occupied the
lower level of the museum, where
the floor and walls were painted off-
white. Viewers saw just three pairs
of large, facing speakers. The field of
reconstructed sound was feeble yet
penetrating, like electricity out of a
sine wave, a minimal unit of sound
that sharpened perceptual skills as
viewers moved through the space.
In these and other works, Ikeda
questions definitions of fine art and
transports his audience to another
world, infinite in its possibilities.
|co|c |c|cne
0t sA1cM: SMAWsMAt
For many followers of contempo-
rary Chinese art, Beijing is the hub
of a dynamic world. Big name
artists like Ai Weiwei have studios
there, foreign galleries have opened
spaces in the city, and many of the
major Chinese auction houses like
Guardian and Poly Art are based
there. But with the Shanghai
Biennale, and more recently the
contemporary art fair
ShContemporary, Beijings southern
rival has proven to be just as artis-
tically vibrant. Like many Chinese
cities, Shanghai is obsessed with
establishing itself as a modern,
international metropolis, especially
in the lead-up to the 2010 World
Expo (formerly known as the
Worlds Fair). This means having
a rich and varied cultural life and
demonstrating a move away from
Communist-style public art (though
Soviet-style sculptures can still be
found scattered around the city,
remnants of a time long gone). In
recent years, the city government
has developed increasingly so-
phisticated public projects, though
some say it still has a way to go
before it is truly international, in
no small part due to strict govern-
ment controls.
The art scene in the early days of
Reform and Opening in the early
90s was driven almost entirely by
the artists themselves, with no insti-
tutional backing. The Shanghai Art
Museum, a government-run entity,
focused primarily on ink paintings
and Chinese artists working in the
Western style, i.e., traditional oil
paintings. Although the museum
established the Shanghai Biennale
in 1996, it was not until 2000 that
it showed contemporary and inter-
national art. The biennial has now
become one of the citys most impor-
tant art events, and the museums
location in a public park offers ripe
opportunities for outdoor sculpture
projects and installations. Indeed,
at last years edition of the show,
the most striking works were out-
door sculptures.
The Shanghai Cultural Develop-
ment Fund, a government founda-
tion, was established in the late 80s
but has only recently become active.
It routinely sponsors major public
events (including the biennial), and,
in 2005, it established the Shanghai
International Biennial Urban
Sculpture Exhibition. The show aimed
to bring sculpture to the public
forum and promote its development;
70 artists from 15 countries were
shown in indoor and outdoor venues.
Unfortunately, the exhibition had
problems from the beginning, the
least of which was the organizers
inexperience. Public awareness of the
show was lacking, and subsequent
editions of the biennial never mate-
rialized.
The same year, Sculpture, A Cen-
tury debuted at the newly opened
Shanghai Sculpture Space, featuring
international and local artists.
Located in a former steel factory,
Shanghai Sculpture Space demon-
strated the governments supposed
seriousness not only in providing
public artworks, but also in preserv-
ing and re-using historical buildings.
The space, which was created under
the auspices of the Office of the
Ryoji Ikeda, data.tron [3 SXGA+
version], 200709. Video projectors,
computers, and loudspeakers,
installation view.
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78 Sculpture 29.1
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Shanghai Urban Sculpture Com-
mittee and the Board of the Shang-
hai Urban Planning Administration,
goes to great lengths to promote
itself as a hub for contemporary art
and sculpture, but the reality is
much more complicated. Shanghai
Sculpture Space is part of a larger
development managed by Red Town
(it is not certain whether this is gov-
ernment or privately run). The gallery
space is in the original steel factory,
but the surrounding buildings of the
complex are open for lease and
development. Unlike the citys M50
gallery complex or 798 in Beijing,
whose buildings are reserved exclu-
sively for galleries, studios, and other
creative industries, Red Town is open
to all, resulting in a cultural area less
focused on culture and more focused
on commercial enterprise. Although
it is a government-supported com-
plex, the money comes largely from
the leasing of the surrounding build-
ings. The Sculpture Space gallery
does not have a curatorial team and
is rented out to whoever is willing to
pay (public art museums in the city
are run the same way, with few
exceptions). In recent years, more
and more galleries have opened in
the area, but much of the work fea-
tured here is of a decorative nature
or poorly imitates better-known
Chinese and international art. This
undoubtedly will change as people
have more experience with contem-
porary art; at least the foundation
has been laid, and the potential for a
truly active sculpture scene is great.
In addition to the municipal gov-
ernment, each of Shanghais district
governments also has its own agenda
(with direction from the city govern-
ment) and ideas about art and cul-
ture. Each district actively seeks out
public projects in its own way,
whether through the opening of ex-
hibition spaces and museums or
through public art. The latter is often
preferred as a way to enhance a
development or public space. Some
of these sculptures are acquired
in the form of donations from the
artiststhe American Manuel
Carbonell donated a bronze piece
to Xujiahui Parkwhile others are
hand-picked by officials. Still others
are acquired through competitions,
which are open to artists and design-
ers alike. However democratic these
kinds of competitions are, they are
often beset with problems, usually
involving money. For instance, a local
design company won the competi-
tion to build a small public park
in the western part of the city and
enlisted the design skills of a well-
known Korean artist. The project was
slowed by disagreements over the
budget, and in the end, the district
decided to go with a cheaper local
firm, taking the design along; the
Korean artist was never compen-
sated. Problems such as these were
once endemic and highlighted the
inexperience of local officials in deal-
ing with art and culture. The situa-
tion has improved considerably,
though, in large part to polish the
citys reputation in advance of the
World Expo.
Traditionally, the Expo has been a
showcase for commerce and trade,
but organizers of the Shanghai edi-
tion have made art and culture a big
part of the event. An international
sculpture competition was held for
the various areas of the Expo, and
organizers recently announced win-
ners. The winning pieces came
mainly from design companies and
art universities in China rather than
artists, but the competition nonethe-
less shows a dedication to public art.
While this official support for art-
related projects and spaces adds
considerably to the citys cultural life,
contemporary art, and particularly
sculpture, has flourished in the pri-
vate sector. Galleries such as Shangh-
Art in the M50 art complex (roughly
modeled after 798 in Beijing) and the
Shanghai Gallery of Art on the Bund
have long supported and encouraged
artists to be more experimental.
Above: Jing Shijian, Express Train,
2008. Train car, rail, and televisions.
Below: Shanghai Sculpture Space.
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Sculpture January/February 2010 79
C
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ShanghArt is known for its video and
conceptual artists, such as Yang
Fudong and Xu Zhen (as well as rep-
resenting art powerhouses Zeng
Fanzhi and Wang Guangyi), but it
also has a strong roster of artists
working in installation and sculpture,
like Ji Wenyu, who started out as a
painter. Probably under the influence
of his wife, textile artist Zhu Weibing,
with whom he works, Ji slowly added
three-dimensional elements to his
work. This evolved into full-fledged
soft sculptures made in collaboration
with Zhu. Their whimsical figurines
and objects made from stuffed cloth
comment on the complexities of
modern Chinese life. The Shanghai
Gallery of Art actively encourages
artists to challenge themselves with-
in the confines of its dynamic struc-
ture (the non-traditional space is
defined by an atrium that soars up to
the buildings top floor). Liu Jianhua,
a Shanghai-based artist, often collab-
orates with the gallery and has made
a mark with his contemporary cer-
amic pieces. Working with craftsmen
at the famous Jindezhen ceramic vil-
lage, Liu uses the traditional medium
to create such non-traditional objects
as skulls, guns, and the Shanghai
skyline.
Privately run museums like the
Zendai Museum of Modern Art
in Pudong and the Museum of
Contemporary Art in Peoples Park
offer shows of higher quality than
those found at public museums. The
Zendai, in particular, has a fondness
for sculpture; its founder, Dai Zhikang
of the real estate development com-
pany Shanghai Zendai Group, claims
to be a long-time supporter and col-
lector of contemporary art. The
museum is located in one of his com-
mercial developments (what can only
be described as an upscale strip
mall), and he has placed several
large-scale sculptures outside, includ-
ing a |c.e piece by Robert Indiana.
These works, however, do not reflect
the direction or programming of the
museum. Across the Huangpu River,
the Shanghai MoCA, founded by
Hong Kong jewelry dealer Samuel
Kung, is too small to have a collec-
tion, but its location in the city cen-
ter gives it a higher profile than its
Pudong counterpart. The museum
often uses the unique outdoor space
of Peoples Park for showy sculpture
pieces and regularly includes avant-
garde artists such as Xiang Jing, who
is known for her life-size fiberglass
figures of women. The museum is
genuinely dedicated to showing qual-
ity contemporary art and is in a
unique position to do so, but it strug-
gles with funding in a system that
does not encourage giving to institu-
tions such as art museums.
While Shanghai is making strides
in becoming a cultural and artistic
hub, the scene here is still immature.
Efforts to foster a public dialogue on
contemporary art are to be admired,
but in a country with restrictions on
artistic content and regular govern-
ment interference, whatever strides
are made can only be rudimentary.
In an inversion of the pattern in
Western countries, the art scene is
not propelled by great public institu-
tions but by private galleries and
museums, which run relatively free
from government control (although
they still must have art officially
approved). Critics say that China can
never have a genuine art scene with-
out artistic freedom, and this has
proven to be true in many cases.
Large events like ShContemporary
and the Shanghai Biennale can be
quite complicated to organize since
every single artwork must be
approved by government officials.
Content is therefore limited, and
many artists working in China exer-
cise self-censorship. Still, the cultural
environment in Shanghai, and in
China generally, is much more open
now than it was 20 years ago, and
greater strides can still be made as
the Chinese realize the importance of
art and culture to a healthy society.
\||n,o t|en
Left: Yue Minjun, Colorful Running
Dinosaurs, 2008. Stainless steel and
copper. Right: Chen Zhiguang, Migra-
tion Times: Ant Paradise, 2008. Stain-
less steel.
Left: Zeng Hao, Scenes, 2008. Mixed
media, installation view.
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SUCCESSFUL STRATEGI ES AT THE 2009 I SC SYMPOSI UM
80 Sculpture 29.1
Attendance at the symposium proves just how diverse and
broad the sculptural world has become. Over half of the partici-
pants had never attended an ISC conference before, and 90 per-
cent of attendees came from out-of-state, representing 23 U.S.
states and five countries. In a survey conducted after the event,
100 percent of all attendees who responded said that they would
recommend an ISC conference to a friend or colleague.
We want to thank everyone who joined us in Hamilton and
to give a special thanks to the many sponsors whose contribu-
tions enabled us to offer such an inclusive symposium during
these challenging times. We hope to see all of you again, as
well as some new members of the sculptural community, for
our 22nd International Sculpture Conference in London,
April 79 2010.
isc
PEOPLE, PLACES, AND EVENTS
The ISCs 2009 symposium, Strategies for Success in Challenging
Times, brought together a mix of new and familiar faces for a 1.5-
day event at Grounds For Sculpture, in Hamilton, New Jersey, this
past October. ISC members, artists, arts administrators, curators,
educators, and arts supporters joined together to share advice, sup-
port, and ideas with 16 different panelists and speakers, including
the keynote speaker, Ruby Lerner, President of Creative Capital.
Grounds For Sculpture proved an excellent venue for this event,
and attendees took advantage of the many opportunities to explore
this unique, 35-acre sculpture park during lunch breaks, on docent
tours, and between panel sessions. Other networking activities
included a well-received pre-symposium reception at Sotto Ristor-
ante, a guided tour and reception at Digital Stone Project, and a
welcome reception at the Nassau Inn in Princeton. The symposium
concluded with the Fall Opening at Grounds For Sculpture, which
showcased the work of the ISCs 2009 Outstanding Student Award
winners and the work of Albert Paley.
Left: Attendees at a networking lunch at Grounds For Sculpture. Center: ISC Board Chairman Josh Kanter and panel moderator Joseph Becherer, Director and
Curator of Sculpture, Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. Right: Attendees having morning coffee.
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Left: Opening remarks with David Miller (at lectern), Executive Director of Grounds For Sculpture, along with panelists Janet Kaplan, James Steward, Adrian
Ellis, and Tom Otterness. Center: Keynote speaker Ruby Lerner, President of Creative Capital. Right: ISC Board member Richard Heinrich and panelist James
Steward, Director of the Princeton University Art Museum, in conversation among attendees.
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______________________________
____________________________
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