John Bock: In the Moloch of the Presence of Being

John Bock Sculpture

Da-Dings-Da ist im Groß-Da da weil der Wurm im Moby Dick wohnt, 2014, Video, 25 Min.,
© John Bock, Courtesy Sprüth Magers

I first encountered the work of German artist John Bock in August 2010 at the Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin. [1] As the name suggests, the gallery was a temporary initiative that ran for two years (September 2008 through August 2010), situated in the centre of the city next to Museum Island.   For their last show Bock had been commissioned to curate a mammoth exhibition featuring the work of 65 artists, all combined into an immersive installation across multiple levels. The promotional poster for the exhibition (which I still have a copy of safely rolled up in my closet) is probably a good indication of what the audience encountered when they set foot in the gallery – and to some extent, is perhaps indicative of the kind of imagery that Bock has become synonymous with. Continue reading

Chicago Goes Pop

In 2015, Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson (husband and wife) donated over $400 million worth of art to the Art Institute of Chicago.  It would be the largest bequest in the institution’s history.  As of December, this massive addition to the permanent collection is now on permanent view in a suite of galleries in the museum’s contemporary wing, an airy, rectilinear space designed by Pritzker-winning Renzo Piano.  The 44-piece collection is a veritable who’s-who of postwar art, with a particular emphasis on all things Pop. Continue reading

Nested Transmuter Cycle: A Boulder into the Pond

Installation view, Nested Trasmuter Cycle, by MSHR. Courtesy of Interstitial.

I often feel that time is an unspoken quality of sculptural work. Of course, time is inescapable, and so any sculpture that we view must occur over time. The time we spend looking at the work, the time it takes to walk around the sculpture to see it from all angles, the time to sculpt it, which is inscribed in its surface and structure. Time does not stop affecting a work of sculpture, either. Eventually, any material crumbles to dust. Every solid substance is secretly in motion, whether changing form, decomposing away, or slowly moving through space, even as it adheres to the surface of our spinning planet. Continue reading

A World View: John Latham

John Latham Sculpture

A World View: John Latham; Time Base Roller, 1972, Installation view, Serpentine Gallery, London (1 March 2017 – 21 May 2017) Image © Luke Hayes

John Latham is generally considered to be a pioneering voice in British conceptual art. Born in what was Livingston, Northern Rhodesia (now Maramba, Zambia), he later studied in London at Regent Street Polytechnic and then Chelsea College of Art and Design. Over the last couple of years, his work has cropped up in several significant international exhibitions both in the UK and abroad, including the Conceptual Art in Britain 1964–1979 at Tate Britain during the middle of last year. In recognition of both his own innovative body of work, and also his vast influence on later generations of artists, the Serpentine galleries are now showing two concurrent exhibitions dedicated to Latham in Hyde Park, London.   Continue reading

Us is Them

sculpture

Jeff Sonhouse, Meeting at the Crossroads, 2003. Oil and mixed media on canvas. Photography courtesy UICA, images captured by Pizzuti Collection

If the exhibition Us is Them at the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art in Grand Rapids seems at times to have an excessively broad focus, I can happily forgive this on the grounds that it had so much to offer.    This is a muscular show that assembles a diverse international ensemble of artists whose work, broadly speaking, addresses social justice and current affairs.  Continue reading

MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum

MAIIAM Exterior. Courtesy MAIIAM.

MAIIAM is a beautiful private museum of contemporary art in Chiang Mai, Thailand started by Jean Michel Beurdeley and his late wife Patsri Bunnag, together with their son Eric Bunnag Booth. The name of the museum, a play on words meaning “brand new” in Thai, is a combination of the word “new” and a tribute to Mr. Booth’s great grand aunt Jao Jom Iam, a royal consort to King Rama V, who lived in a time when Thailand moved decisively into modernity. Opening MAIIAM in July of 2016, the family wished to share their private collection with the Thai public in order to show how art can enrich lives and provide new perspectives. Providing a definitively international contemporary art destination in Northern Thailand as well as strengthening the already flourishing Chiang Mai art scene, MAIIAM offers the public permanent access to important collections of both Thai and regional contemporary art. Continue reading

Kehinde Wiley: Re-Imagining Art History

Kehinde Wiley Sculpture

Kehinde Wiley (American, born 1977), Digital Study for Saint Ursula and the Virgin Martyrs, 2014. © Kehinde Wiley. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

Anthony van Dyck’s Seventeenth Century Portrait of Charles I at the Hunt now hangs reverentially in the Louvre, so it’s easy to overlook the artist’s daring decision to paint an equestrian portrait of the monarch dismounted and dressed in civilian clothing as he makes almost mischievous eye contact with the viewer; to its original audience, this was emphatically contemporary art.  Multimedia artist Kehinde Wiley helps us look at these Old Masters in a new light.  His subjects strike poses straight from Old Master paintings, but wear camouflage and Timberland boots.  Furthermore, he playfully flips the switch on art, giving us a color-inverted pantheon of Who’s Who in art history.  Continue reading