Posts tagged with "Sculpture":

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Do Ho Suh’s New York apartment replica gifted to LACMA

An anonymous donor has gifted one of New York-based artist Do Ho Suh's large-scale sculptures to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). The piece, 348 West 22nd Street (2011-2015), is a full-scale fabric replica of two adjacent ground floor units in a low-rise Chelsea apartment the artist rented for nineteen years during his early career. It's in the same vein as The Perfect Home II, another exploration of the same space that closed out a run earlier this year at the Brooklyn Museum. Suh used translucent polyester thread, wiring, and a steel frame to recreate the features of his former apartment building in excruciating detail, down to the curvature of the bathroom tiles and the lettering on the kitchen oven. The two apartment units, shared corridor, and staircase are each rendered in vibrant blocks of color that help distinguish them as visitors look through the translucent surfaces. To create the sculpture, Suh matched digital mapping tools with traditional Korean sewing techniques over the course of four years. The translucency and gentle sagging that many of the elements face under the weight of their materials remind the viewer that the sculpture is only a ghostly copy of the original, the full details of which are surrendered to memory loss. “The whole process,” Suh commented, “is to remember the space, and also to somehow memorialize the space.” Throughout his career, Suh has made full-scale recreations of spaces he has previously occupied in Seoul, Providence, London and New York using fabric, paper, and other fragile materials to symbolize the ephemerality of the places we build our lives. 348 West 22nd Street is now on display in the Resnick Pavilion at LACMA with no closing date set.
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Burglars steal Maurizio Cattelan’s golden America toilet

In a pastoral part of central England known for its stately homes and greenery, burglars made off this week with a valuable, if fairly unusual, piece of art. The theft took place around 4:50 a.m. at Blenheim Palace, a monumental country house in Oxfordshire, just northwest of London. The target of the crime? America, a 2016 sculpture of a fully-functional toilet crafted in 18-carat gold by the Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan.

The toilet, which was previously housed in an upper-level lavatory at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, had been installed in one of Blenheim’s wood-paneled restrooms as part of an exhibition of Cattelan’s work. It was connected to the estate’s plumbing system, enabling visitors to actually use it—rare moments of intimacy with an object valued at well over one million dollars. According to the Sunday Times, overnight security was relaxed because Edward Spencer-Churchill, the display’s organizer, did not consider the toilet a prime target for burglars. As he told reporters when the piece was installed in August, “It’s not going to be the easiest thing to nick…Firstly, it’s plumbed in and secondly, a potential thief will have no idea who last used the toilet or what they ate.” Neither factor seemed an adequate deterrent for the thieves last week.

The crime caused significant damage to the palace beyond the loss of the art itself, as from photos, it appears the thieves simply ripped the fixture from the wall and left. The ruptured piping spawned a minor flood and one of the doors to the room was completely destroyed. While the display is now cordoned off, the toilet has yet to be recovered, prompting concerns that it may have been melted down. Authorities claim that a group of offenders used two vehicles to carry out the burglary but have only arrested one 66-year-old man in connection with the crime.

Cattelan himself highlighted the irony of the incident, pointing out that he created America to give ordinary people direct access to an extraordinary object. As he told The New York Times this weekend, “America was the one percent for the 99 percent, and I hope it still is. I want to be positive and think the robbery is a kind of Robin Hood-inspired action. I wish it was a prank.”

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The Met updates its facade with Wangechi Mutu sculptures

The niches on the facade of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, empty for the institution's 117-year history, are now filled with artwork. On Monday, the museum unveiled the four bronze sculptures by Nairobi-born and Brooklyn-based artist Wangechi Mutu for the building's exterior fronting Fifth Avenue. The work, collectively titled The NewOnes, will free Us, is the first of The Met’s annual commissions intended to not only enliven the structure’s historic Beaux Arts exterior but to affirm the museum's commitment to showcasing a more contemporary and diverse repertoire. The sculptures represent four seated or kneeling figures with reflective golden disks (configured as a coiffure in one instance) bearing down on a head or covering a mouth and eyes in others. These disks show both a weighty burden, as well as a display of status and nobility inspired by the traditional dress of African women. Mutu's sculptures reference the canonical figure of the caryatid, a prevalent theme in both classical and African art. Whereas the caryatid has traditionally been a sculpted female form acting as structural support or embellishment, Mutu has brought her own mediation on the trope. Instead, her sculptures carry their own weight and emanate autonomy and regality. The facade commission presents an opportunity for the historic art institution to grapple with its place in the contemporary art world and shift away from its Eurocentric past. “What I am most grateful to Wangechi Mutu for is how this grand, temporary installation enables the Museum to continue our momentum on the important path of rethinking what an encyclopedic museum can and should provide, and how it can engage with the important notion of contemporaneity in a meaningful way,” said Max Hollein, the Met's director, in a statement about the inaugural commission. Mutu's sculptures will be on-view on Fifth Avenue until January 12, 2020.
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India's first sculpture park opens for a second season

India’s first public sculpture park opened last year in the sprawling Madhavendra Palace, a milestone for the country’s contemporary art scene. The palace's formal corridors and rooms have been curated as a uniquely rich pathway for visitors to The Sculpture Park to see new works of contemporary sculpture in each edition of the park’s programming. This year, 23 artists have brought new, often site-specific works to the palace, and over half of them live and work in India themselves.  “For most of my career as a gallerist and curator, I have been trying to break away from the white-box exhibition space,” 2019 edition curator Peter Nagy told Hyperallergic. “With this project, I am able to indulge my passions for art, architecture, and decor into a marvelous synthesis of the past and the present.”  Completed in 1892, the Palace is the best-preserved section of the Nahargarh Fort complex, which was designed to sit organically amongst the hills as a pleasure retreat for Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh, founder of the city of Jaipur. Twenty-three artists will explore ideas of landscape, politics, and colonialism in their works this year, amidst the backdrop of an Indian heritage landmark to create a striking context. From architectural explorations of the intersections of modern colonial and traditional styles to World War II radio relics, the pieces are varied in narrative as well as scale, but united by their common backdrop. The palace as sculpture park continues to exist as an example of public and private sectors working side-by-side for the proliferation of the arts. A collaboration between the Government of Rajasthan and Saat Saath Arts non-profit, The Sculpture Park states in its mission statement that the park is an example of an “India of the 21st century,” a "synthesis of the contemporary with the traditional, bringing art into the public realm and reclaiming public spaces.” But with works decrying hot-button issues such as the Kashmir border crises and the lingering effects of war and empire, it is difficult to see how the park's artists plan to work with governmental bodies to reform the topics this exhibition is expressing.  Yet, the public is responding. Just since the park’s opening, visitation to the palace has increased by 37 percent.
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Paris will install controversial Jeff Koons gift on the Champs-Élysées

Jeff Koons’s controversial sculpture Bouquet of Tulips was first proposed as a "donation" by the artist in 2016 and has only now found a home near the Champs-Élysées in Paris. Described as a “gift of remembrance” by the artist in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the city in the years of 2015 and 2016, the gargantuan proportions, cost, and proposed core location amongst top Parisian contemporary art institutions mired the project in controversy since its original announcement.  Originally, the bouquet was proposed to be installed outside the Palais de Tokyo, a museum location very popular with tourists, with views of the Seine and the Eiffel Tower. However, the backlash from the public, including a published letter by the French daily newspaper Libération, swayed officials to rethink the plan.  The letter listed grievances against the installation, among them arguments that the work was conceptualized as a “symbol of memory, optimism, and recovery,” but without any relation to the tragic events or their location. The 24 signatories, all professionals within the French art and architecture scenes, including a former culture minister, Frédéric Mitterrand, also cited that while he was a “brilliant and inventive creator in the 1980s, Jeff Koons has since become the emblem of an industrial art,” and that a work placed in an area of such high touristic visibility would amount to “advertising or product placement.” However, other factors like the 33-ton weight of the sculpture, came in to play as well, as the basement below the site may not have been able to withstand the pressure.  Koons only donated the concept of the 40-foot-tall sculpture—a hyper-realistic hand holding 11 "balloons" resembling tulip bulbs made from stone, polished stainless steel, bronze, and aluminum—while private donations and foundations financed the actual fabrication and eventual plans for installation. The project cost an estimated $3.5 million, but French taxpayers will be tapped for the sculpture’s protection and maintenance.  During the debates over the fate of the gift, the sculpture had been sitting finished in a German warehouse. Installation was only greenlit after a trip by Koons himself to Paris on August 23rd, where in three hours, the artist, his gallerist, Jérôme and Emmanuelle de Noirmont of Noirmontartproduction, and city officials came to the locational compromise. The bouquet is set to be installed by October 5, where it will debut during Paris’ nuit blanche, the citywide annual all-night art event.  While photography is strictly prohibited throughout the installation process, two of the bulbs have already been delivered by Arnold, a celebrated German metal fabricator known for its polished metal works—and while that shine is a trademark of the American artist, the new tulips will have a matte finish, “out of respect for the French people.” 
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Art on demolished Brooklyn Heights Library facade has found a new home

The art on the facade of the Brooklyn Heights Library has found a new home. Back in 2017, the old library building, a squat structure from the early 1960s that exuded WPA vibes, was demolished to make way for a luxury condo tower designed by New York's Marvel Architects. While the building itself wasn't much to look at, the art on its facade was most certainly was: six bas-reliefs by Italian sculptor Clemente Spampinato that playfully depicted industry and businesses; crafts; sciencesknowledge; literature; and arts. A BPL spokesperson confirmed over email that, per the original announcement, two of the six 10-by-11-foot panels will adorn a meeting room in the new library, which is slated to open in fall 2020. The other four panels will be the spolia in a to-be-planted garden outside the Walt Whitman Library, which is about a mile's walk from the branch in Brooklyn Heights at 280 Cadman Plaza West (or One Clinton, per the condo's branding). The new 26,600-square-foot Brooklyn Heights library space will sit within the Marvel Architects-designed building. The old library's demolition is part of a $300 million capital repair campaign that the Brooklyn Public Library estimates will generate $40 million in revenue for major repairs at other branches. There's certainly plenty of value locked into the building: At press time, a 900-square-foot one-bedroom was listed at $1.2 million, while the cheapest three-bedroom, a 2,000-square-foot 2.5 bath unit, is going for $3.1 million.
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Miniature undulating cityscape comes to Madison Square Park

Manhattan’s Madison Square Park has opened its 38th outdoor installation to the public today, dropping an evocative, interactive “cityscape” from sculptor Leonardo Drew into the park that will stay up until December 15. The 100-plus-foot-long City in the Grass stands as a solitary statement on its own but also makes ample reference to the city surrounding it, including the Empire State Building, which looms over the park. The piece is a tapestry of colors, textures, and materials that simultaneously evokes growth, comfort, ruins, and intimacy on the park’s Oval Lawn. Three stepped spires, the tallest of which tops out at 16 feet, anchor City in the Grass and are an obvious allusion to the Empire State Building to the north. Each spire is made from a mixture of plaster and latex paint, and Drew says that their eclectic appearance is a reference to Cuba’s dilapidated hotels, where peeling paint reveals the underlying structure. Surrounding each spire is an abstracted landscape of black and white wood offcuts of varying heights, reminiscent of buildings, but without a specific reference. These urban islands “float” in between waves of steel panels adorned in colored sand and patterned after Persian carpet designs, literalizing the “ebb and flow” of urban life through peaks and valleys. The peeling, layered look of the carpet, complete with holes and seams that let the grass below poke through, is meant to evoke the feeling of a familiar, well-worn home item. While the piece may look like it was assembled from found materials, Drew was quick to point out that he doesn’t use found objects; every piece and tear is deliberate. Drew is typically known for his wall pieces and City in the Grass is his first outdoor public installation. Appropriately enough, the piece is meant to encourage public interaction. While City in the Grass might look fragile, visitors are encouraged to sit, stand on, and explore it from every angle (just don’t climb on the spires). City in the Grass was commissioned by the Madison Square Park Conservancy. As the exhibition will remain up throughout the fall and winter, visitors can experience the materials weathering in real time in response to the natural landscape around it.
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Urs Fischer presents a dark domestic fairy tale at the Brant Foundation

The Swiss artist Urs Fischer has returned to The Brant Foundation Art Study Center, which first presented a solo show of his work in 2010, with ERROR, a surreal landscape of sculptures, paintings, and a full-scale cabin—partially made of slowly molding bread. Bread House had originally been staged in 2004 and has been reconstructed this time with (thankfully) new bread, which will again decay and rot and stink. The life-size alpine cabin is lined with rugs and is held together with the help of expanding foam and wood. (In some past iterations the house has been populated by young parakeets, which feed off the bread.) Other fairy-tale-esque domestic fixtures are also on display, though not within the walls of the yeasty home, including bed sculptures, like Kratz (2011), a bed collapsing under the weight of a pile of concrete, and Untitled (2011), a bed seemingly collapsing under the ghostly weight of nothing. Stranger still perhaps, there is Horse/Bed (2013), a deconstructed hospital bed merged with an aluminum horse, like some sort of sick harness. To create this eerie form, Fischer blended 3-D scans of a taxidermied workhorse and a hospital bed. There is, of course, seating too, like You Can Not Win (2003), a falling over plain plaster chair that’s been impaled by an over-four-foot-tall white BIC lighter. That might be comical, but more jarring is a fountain-cum-chair draped with a skeleton, pietà-style, called Invisible Mother (2015). All of these works—along with other sculptures, paintings, and mixed media objects—create a dreamlike (or nightmare-like, depending on your disposition) environment that overwhelms and confuses to giddying effect. URS FISCHER: ERROR The Brant Art Foundation Study Center Greenwich, CT Through October 14
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Heidi Bucher's latex casts of spaces are coming to New York

What if instead of photographing your home to remember its significance in your life, you recreated its walls, windows, and doors by casting them in liquid latex? That’s quite the committed way of capturing the space of life, but one that could also produce a more tangible record of space. The seminal Swiss sculptor and performance artist Heidi Bucher did just that in the mid-1970s and '80s. Late in her career, she discovered a new, experimental artform of  “skinning” spaces by pressing gauze against the surface of a building or object, spreading latex on top of it, and then peeling off the cast with all her might. A survey of these monumental pieces, which have been pristinely kept by her family, will be on view in the new exhibition, Heidi Bucher: The Site of Memory, at the Lehmann Maupin Gallery in New York from April 29 to June 15. Viewers will be able to see up-close and personal the details and textures that Bucher was able to capture. Featuring Bucher’s most iconic sculptures, like Borg from 1976, a piece molded on the entire cellar of her studio, the exhibition will provide insights into the artist’s intensive latex casting method and the lengths that she would go to record spaces. Also included will be works shown for the first time in the United States like Untitled (Door to the Herrenzimmer) from 1978, a sculpture that, like much of Bucher’s work, takes on an ethereal quality thanks to the mother-of-pearl she pasted over her pieces to create an iridescent sheen. Though her projects have naturally browned over time, such touches gave helped them maintain an aura of elusive depth. “I don’t think she was trying to be super precious with these materials,” said Anna Stothart, curatorial director of Lehmann Maupin. “For her, these skins had certain layers of beauty but were also meant to express the specific personal, social, and historic memories held in these architectural spaces. You can even see the residue of the paint pulled from the surface of whatever she was casting.” Bucher’s work was clearly indicative of a literal place and time in her own life, but it also had a larger, cultural meaning. According to Stothart, she was investigating the physical boundaries between the human body and the domestic environments in which women, in particular, were often confined to. The pieces shown in the exhibition center around the period when Bucher returned to a politically-charged Zurich after living in more progressive cities within the U.S. and Canada with her husband, who was a more traditional sculptor. After divorcing him, she began exploring more abstract forms of sculpture as well as feminist ideas like what it means to “take up space,” both in public and in private, as a Swiss woman. She primarily molded women’s clothing at first, which according to the exhibition description “both signified her interest in metamorphosis and served as a critical response to the rigid gender restrictions she experienced growing up.” By the time she started casting large-scale architectural structures, such as entire rooms, the concept turned into a personal and cultural commentary on removing oneself from the patriarchal past. “She would literally pull the molds off the wall using her whole body,” said Stothart. “The material is strong and she wasn’t worried about the end result being perfect, or even conserving it. I’d say she didn’t want a piece to be an exact replica of space, but the memory of it, a ghost of it.”  Heidi Bucher: The Site of Memory opens at Lehmann Maupin at 501 West 24th Street, New York on April 29. A series of videos filmed by Bucher and her sons, Mayo and Indigo Bucher, will accompany the work, unveiling the poetic ways in which the artist spoke about her process and works.
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Hank Willis Thomas creates 25-foot-tall Afro pick for 5th Avenue

A new 25-foot-tall statue of an Afro pick now stands outside The Africa Center in East Harlem, New York. All Power to All People, created by conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas, was erected last Friday in its temporary location on 5th Avenue. Designed in collaboration with the Kindred Arts cultural equity initiative, the steel sculpture is intended to honor and celebrate cultural identities of the African diaspora. Thomas worked with fabricator Jeff Schomberg to imagine the larger-than-life Afro pick, which sits at an angle on a black podium and features a handle in the outline of a clenched fist. The design is an iteration of Thomas's 2017 sculpture made with Monument Lab in Philadelphia for Thomas Paine Plaza. In connection with the Afro pick’s distinct cultural and political identity, the piece symbolizes the strength, comradery, and perseverance of the African-American community, as well as the ongoing pursuit for equal rights, justice, and belonging.  Marsha Reid, executive director of Kindred Arts and producer of the project, noted the important location of the installation. “Representation matters,” she said, “and this monumental art is placed here at The Africa Center in the heart of the community, with the purpose of inspiring conversation and facilitating a space where communities might affirm cultural citizenship and freely express identity.” All Power to All People will be on display through July 7, 2019, in the public plaza outside The Africa Center at 1280 Fifth Avenue in New York City. A slew of public programs will coincide with the monumental installation. For more information, visit The Africa Center’s website.
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Artist and designer Leeroy New brings his aliens to New York City

Filipino artist and designer Leeroy New has created a fluorescent installation in Pintô International's new gallery space in New York City's East Village. After a two-week residency in February 2019, New created the sculptures along with multi-colored costumes that performers have donned while traipsing around Lower Manhattan. Aliens of Manila: New York Colony has a sort of psychedelic, fungal look, as though prosaic objects had somehow mutated into funky new lifeforms. Both the sculptures and the costumes are made of cheap plastic home goods and fabrication supplies like zip ties and fiberglass strips. The photos of performers on the street are part of the artist's broader Aliens of Manila project that "speaks to the wider experience of cultural displacement but is profoundly informed by the artist’s own familial experience with the phenomenon of what he refers to as 'OFW'—Overseas Filipino Workers." The photos show people in the costumes popping against the backdrop of day-to-day activity in New York City. Pintô International is the new space from the Phillippines-based Pintô Art Museum, a museum that collects and exhibits the work of many prominent local artists. Aliens of Manila: New York Colony marks the launch of a quarterly exhibition schedule, an artist residency, and a monthly Pintô Sessions event series. Aliens of Manila: New York Colony Pintô International 431 East 12th Street, New York, New York Through May 27, 2019
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The Met premieres an annual facades series to spotlight contemporary work

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s flagship Beaux-Arts facade on Fifth Avenue will soon host art for the first time in the building’s 115-year history. Installing work along the museum’s historic frontage is part of a larger slew of contemporary art exhibitions announced by the institution last Thursday. The move to display new pieces, some of them site-specific, is a clear effort by the museum to fill the void created by winding down its presence at the Met Breuer. It was announced last September that the Met would be vacating the brutalist Breuer building in 2020, only four years after its renovation and rebranding, so that the Frick Collection can temporarily continue to operate there while its flagship house-museum undergoes an upgrade. From September 9 through January 12, 2020, sculptures from Nairobi-born artist Wangechi Mutu will adorn the facade's niches. Mutu’s designs will be the first in a newly-announced annual series of installations along the building’s stone facade, which was completed in 1902 by architect Richard Howland Hunt. Although Mutu's exact sculptures have not been revealed yet, her work has previously used collage to touch on elements of diaspora, African culture, and inequality. Additionally, Canadian Cree artist Kent Monkman has been tapped to create enormous, site-specific new paintings for the museum’s Great Hall, which will be on view from December 19 through April 12, 2020. Multidisciplinary Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson will also premiere Death is Elsewhere, an immersive multi-channel video installation in the Robert Lehman Wing atrium, from May 30 through September 2. Other than marking a shift towards highlighting contemporary and new pieces, the three exhibitions also make greater use of the Met’s building itself to display them. "Artists have long engaged with The Met's collection, drawing connections between contemporary practices and 5,000 years of world culture," said Max Hollein, Director of the Met, in a press release. "These projects are a manifestation of The Met's desire and ability to collaborate with artists and current artistic production in an unusual way. The Met itself, the building, and its public spaces will become temporary platforms for presenting new work, offering powerful opportunities to display contemporary art for our broad audience to experience."