10.07.2009

Sculpture Roundup in Chelsea

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There was a lot of good sculpture in Chelsea this month, more that I can write about in individual posts, so this is a collection of exhibitions that I saw, liked and photographed. This post is more show than tell, but I have slipped in some info from press releases and, quelle surprise, a few opinions.
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Jaume Plensa
In the Midst of Dreams, Galerie Lelong, through October 24


Working with true subjects, Plensa then altered their faces for these illuminated cast-resin heads so that race and/or gender are indeterminate
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Below: Serenity in proportionally altered, laser-cut stone
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Rebecca Warren
Feelings, Matthew Marks Gallery (22nd St.), through October 24

Warren presents the female form--in plaster, unfired clay, painted bronze or welded steel--in a range of expression from figuration to abstraction, and with an attitude that swings from humorous to aggressive. She's in thorough control of her metier, but to be honest, with all those materials and points of view, this feels more like a group show. And is it me, or does this piece seem to channel R. Crumb?

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Linda Stein
Women of Valor, Flomenhaft Gallery, through October 24


Stein focused on armor and superheroes in this two-artist show (with painter Jaune Quick-To-See Smith). You probably can't see it without a detail, but the surface is swathed in laser-print copies of Wonder Woman cartoons--a totemic expression of power and protection

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David Kennedy Cutler
No More Right Now Forever, Derek Eller Gallery, Through October 24


Views above and below, with sculptures barely visible: Clear plexiglass sheets heat-molded with the impression of the artist's body



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Vincent Fecteau
New Sculpture, Matthew Marks Gallery (24th St.), through October 24
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For these fluid forms I thought felt, but no. They're painted papier mache. What's more, they all began over the armature of a semi-inflated beach ball. I'm reading from the press release now: "The works have similar looking curves because of their shared beginnings, however each piece has been worked into an entirely new form."
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Nancy Graves
Nancy Graves, Ameringer/McEnery/Yohe, through October 24



The late sculptor, known for large-scale welded forms that referenced animal life (her famous camels) and a jungle of botanical life, is here represented by an installation of small polychromed bronze sculptures from the 1980s
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From the press release: "During these years, Graves used bronze casting to create elements from a variety of organic and manufactured items, which she then arranged, welded together, and painted with rich and colorful patinas."

My favorite, below: Wax Works VII, 1987, bronze with baked enamel, 10 x 17.5 x 14.5 inches



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Andy Yoder
Man Cave, Winkleman Gallery, through October 24



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From the guy who brought you the 10-foot licorice wingtip shoe comes a show that subverts the idea of masculinity, of what makes guy things guy things. I'm not sure the fur life preserver and gilded bowling pin make the point as much as his rose-covered garage door or lead crystal hubcaps, but in the process he also forces one to question what makes flowers and lead crystal girl things).

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Type A
Ruled, Goff + Rosenthal, through October 17
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Type A is Adam Ames and Andrew Bordwin. The piece you're seeing is a gallery installation of 2000 plumb bobs, which occupy so much of the space that you have to flatten yourself against the wall to get past it. I'm not sure I would have been so drawn to the work if it hadn't been for the collaboration of the sun.
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The strong afternoon light created a staccato rhythym via shadows that hit the floor in sharp perpendicular to the plumbs, below. I'll have to revisit the installation on a cloudy day and let you know


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Anselm Reyle
Monochrome Age, Gagosian, through October 24



I didn't respond to most of the work in this show. I found it too big, too shiny, too full of itself. But I did like the work above, a modular relief (possibly of pressed or cast steel) modulated from behind with changing lights. I managed to get two shots before the guards rushed over to say "No pictures."
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10 comments:

Chris Ashley said...

I vote for Fecteau and Graves. Nice to see Graves.

Joanne Mattera said...

They were my favorites too! (I still remember a show of hers that I saw at the Brooklyn Museum some 20 years ago. Fecteau was totally new to me.)

Lillie said...

I agree with you Joanne, I also like the piece lit from behind. Thanks for sharing. Lillie James, Modern Muralist

Stephanie Sachs said...

What a great eye you have Joanne. Went through the Reyle exhibit barely seeing past the big shiny silver wall. Impressive that you found something nice.
Loved the Fecteau too and enjoyed the Type A installation many times of the day from inside and outside the gallery. Still unsure what the fuss is about Rebecca Warren but it will not be the first time I do not get what others rave about. Guess that is why art is subjective.

Julie Caves said...

Hi Joanne.
The Turner prize nominee Rebecca Warren "misappropriates" images of R. Crumb, Rodin and others. So well-spotted! In an interview she said there is a lot of room for embarrassment in her work, that it takes courage to stand in front of one of her huge physical, messy, ugly works and say "I made that". I like her studio practice, her reasons for making art, her search for why we all make art.

Joanne Mattera said...

Julie,
Thanks for these comments. I'd been unaware of her work before this, but since it was at Matthew Marks, someone in the art world had an eye on her. Yes, I'd say it does take courage to claim those works--or more specifically, all of those works as an oeuvre, since they're all so different. (But, as artists we're all nothing if not courageous, eh?)

Stephanie Sachs said...

Thanks Julie for adding to my understanding of Rebecca Warren. If you have an article where she talks about her process I would love to read it. At this point it seems the art world rewards art on the ugly side of the scale so I wonder how much courage it takes. Is it possible that it now takes courage to make aesthetically pleasing work.

Julie Caves said...

Hi Stephanie.
I understand what you mean, many people feel that way, why is ugly and dark art "deeper" than beautiful art. I believe that "aesthetically pleasing" and "meaning" are not mutually exclusive and from what I see out there, beautiful is still the winner!

If you go to the Tate Museum website there is a video clip of Rebecca Warren speaking about her work.

One thing I have learned over the years is that it is not always true that "the art should speak for itself, if it needs an explanation it is no good". Some work is a result of a process and without knowing the process the work is meaningless. Sometimes the art is in the process itself and the object made is simply an artifact. Those sort of objects only have meaning if you understand the reason they were made. I have seen bland art objects transform before my eyes as I understood what they were about.

Stephanie Sachs said...

Hey Julie, Thanks for the tip about the interview with Rebecca Warren. Funny how as you saw more of it and she spoke it did become less ugly and more charming. Familiarity. After seeing her past work I am interested in why she started making these mini Richard Serra like pieces in the Matthew Marks show. Since this was the first show I saw of hers I thought she was about the yin and yang, masculine/feminine but now I see this is a new direction.

life'svirgin said...

Man "No More Right Now Forever" is so powerful. Its amazing how something so close to invisible makes you want to investigate deeper. I love monochromatic things so I guess I would love "non-chromatic" lol?