In the Studio Book Review: Not A Rose by Heide Hatry

Brachia sepiae

Brachia sepiae

Heide Hatry’s Not A Rose is a 4-year project that involved the artist’s making of 80 photographs of animal tongues, ears, intestines, penises, and internal organs shaped into flowers. The artist and some of her friends offer many reasons why she has turned animal parts that are usually discarded into pseudo-flowers, starting with autobiographical memories of the smells in her grandmother’s flower shop and her years of cutting up dead pigs on her family’s pig farm near Heidelberg.  Continue reading

The Paradoxical Object: Video Film Sculpture

br-object-featureIn The Paradoxical Object, published by London’s Black Dog Publishing, Joan Truckenbrod explores the paradoxes presented by her own artistic medium, the new and quickly expanding digital realm that fuses both video and sculpture, engaging the viewer in a multisensory, and often extrasensory, experience. Video and sculpture are inherently opposing forces—the former ephemeral and transitory, the latter fixed and tangible. Continue reading

Louise Bourgeois: The Return of the Repressed

Reading Louise Bourgeois’s journals is an intimate, visceral experience. Due to my eagerness to “read” Bourgeois, I skipped the texts by art historians and psychoanalysts and plunged into her writings, which is volume two. Philip Larratt-Smith’s concise editor’s note says that most original spellings, capitalizations, and spacings have been maintained and that the artist’s most intensive period of psychoanalysis was 1952-66 with Dr. Henry Lowenfeld. These journals give us glimpses of those years and writings up to 2008. Continue reading

Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape

As part of a touring Miró retrospective, which started at Tate Modern last spring and is currently up at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC (through August 2012), curators Marko Daniel and Matthew Gale have published Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape, a monograph covering the entirety of the artist’s career. In contrast to your typical retrospective catalogue, The Ladder of Escape emphasizes how Miró and his work were affected by the political history of his native Catalonia, Franco’s Spain, and World War II.

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Louise Bourgeois: Conscious and Unconscious

The exhibition “Louise Bourgeois: Conscious and Unconscious,” organized by the Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) and shown at its gallery from January 20–June 1, 2012, features 30 works created between 1947 and 2009. One work that will remain in Qatar is the giant spider Maman (Mother), first shown at the Tate Modern’s giant Turbine Hall in 2000 with three monumental towers, I DO, I UNDO, I REDO.  I discussed these in Sculpture at that time. The towers were not shown in Qatar, but the current exhibition’s curator, Philip Larratt-Smith, gives these works new poignancy by discussing them explicitly in the catalogue in the context of Bourgeois’s other works and of the artist’s Freudian self-questionings of her life as a child and as a mother. Larratt-Smith links I Do to the good mother, I UNDO to the bad mother letting her milk drip as the baby goes hungry, and I REDO to the mother’s self-examination and redress of her state.

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Nevin Aladağ: Sahne | Stage

Running now through May 27, 2012, Nevin Aladağ’s exhibition “Sahne|Stage” populates ARTER’s Istanbul galleries with fantastical curtains of hair. In each composition, the brightly colored, artificial strands hang from a pole, alternately parted in the middle, pulled back, even braided or in loose pigtails. Elegant and evocative, these allusive works manage to convey specific hairstyles as well as functioning stage curtains. The larger works are interactive, and visitors can step into a recessed wall space behind the hair and perform as if on a stage or watch others doing so. This performative theatricality also extends to the works themselves—synthetic and often neon colored, they are  flamboyant costume wigs that don’t even try to look like real hair.

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Oliver Herring: Me Us Them

Oliver Herring, born in Germany and now living and working in Brooklyn, is one of the more innovative artists working in New York today. He is a person of both principle and experiment, and, perhaps most important, he remains interested in exploring the figure—through his early knit pieces, his vivid photo sculptures of people, his films and videos, and his performances. His wide profile of expression not only demonstrates Herring’s ease with many kinds of situations, it calls up the audience’s interest as well.  The book Oliver Herring: Me Us Them, published by the museum at Skidmore College, offers a somewhat brief but nonetheless sharp investigation into the motives and mechanics of Herring’s art. There is a long interview with author Ian Berry, and an essay by Lawrence Rinder, both of which offer ample insight into Herring and his work. Indeed, the interaction that occurs during the course of the conversation between Rinder and the artist allows Herring to do what he does best, namely, work out an intuitive interaction with another person that touches the social aspects of art and the art itself in highly interesting ways. (The scenario of Herring’s highly creative TASK, a communal art activity dependent on the participants’ ability to create something from inexpensive art materials, perfectly defines his progressive, democratic notion that everyone can and, most likely, should make art.)

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