The Human Factor: The Figure in Contemporary Sculpture

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The Human Factor: The Figure in Contemporary Sculpture presents an exhibition in a book, in a more satisfactory format than the usual catalogue. The show, which ran at the Hayward Gallery (which also published the book) in London from 17 June to 7 September last year, includes 25 artists working during the past 25 years. The sculptures demonstrate a very wide range of media and strategies in figuration, from manequins to boxy molds to elaborate tableaux. Essays by Ralph Rugoff, Penelope Curtis, Martin Herbert, James Lingwood, and Lisa Lee helpfully contextualize the work on view and the argument of the exhibition that there has been an upsurge of figural work over the past two and a half decades.  Continue reading

Boaz Vaadia: Sculpture 1971–2012

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The work of Boaz Vaadia is among the most recognizable sculpture in today’s gallery, museum, and public art venues. His stacked-stone figures (solo, in family groups, sometimes with companion animals) are evocative and distinctive. A handsome book from Hudson Hills Press, with text by Wendy Steiner, Ivan C. Karp, Anthony Brown, and the artist himself, not only gives many excellent photographs of the work but also a great deal of context for the sculpture and a good sense of the origins and development of Vaadia’s art. Continue reading

Beverly Pepper: Monumenta

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Beverly Pepper’s catalogue Monumenta opens with an introduction by art historian and curator Robert Hobbs, “Beverly Pepper: Time as Space,” in which he situates Pepper’s work within the critical context provided by Henri Bergson, André Malraux, and Walter Benjamin. The continuum of time and space and their indivisibility are apparent in Pepper’s works, which are often monumental—if not in size, in presence—and integrated with their surroundings, the materials of the sculptures interacting and changing with their environment over time. Continue reading

Circus: Paintings and Drawings By Fernando Botero

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Fernando Botero, recipient of the ISC’s 2012 Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture award, is of course at least as well known for his work in two dimensions as three. In Circus, Botero uses drawing and painting to capture a theme that Modernists have addressed from Renoir to Picasso, Léger to Calder, collecting all 130 paintings and 50 works on paper that the artist has been assembling since encountering a traveling circus in Mexico, similar to those humble circuses he remembered from his youth in Medellin.  Continue reading

International Collection of Essays About Kinetic Art | Volume 1

kinetic-featureThe idea of kinetic art is getting a bit of a workout at the moment. MIT Museum recently hosted  “year of kinetic art, including “5000 Moving Parts,” a kinetic art exhibiton featuring large-scale works by Arthur Ganson, Anne Lilly, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and John Douglas Powers. Plus the Kinetic Art Organization has published a digital “International Collection of Essays About Kinetic Art—2013—volume 1.” The two don’t overlap: The MIT show highlights a somewhat different segment of artists working with motion in sculpture, 4 names, some of whom owe more to Yves Tinguely and Calder’s Circus than Calder’s mobiles and George Rickey (the primary influences for many if not most of the artists in the KAO book. Continue reading

Artists Reclaim the Commons: New Works / New Territories / New Publics

headernbFollowing The New Earthwork: Art, Action, Agency, published last year by ISC Press, Artists Reclaim the Commons makes the case for art as a driving force behind efforts to reimagine human relationships and the built environment. Far from advocating any one genre of public art, this book features a range of project types, from innovative campus programs and biennials to participatory performances and political protests. Art can take to the streets in any number of ways—regardless of approach, the selected projects all share a willingness to work outside of and/or across discrete public art typologies, using institutional frameworks at will, for instance, or blending high-profile status with small-scale, local activism. Continue reading