Reviews


Arlene Shechet

NEW YORK Pace Gallery The 14 large sculptures in the suggestively titled “Skirts,” Arlene Shechet’s recent exhibition, appear to have both hidden and overt agendas. The title word, as noun and verb, conveys ideas of outskirts and borders, as well as dodgy movement; it also describes an item of female clothing and can double as (disrespectful) slang for women themselves.

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Beverly Pepper

NEW YORK Marlborough Gallery Over the course of a prolific seven-decade-long career, Beverly Pepper, who died in February 2020, proved herself a virtuoso of three-dimensionality, regardless of material. Marlborough’s recent “concise investigation” covering 50 years’ worth of Pepper’s work (from 1968 to 2018) offered everything from Cor-ten steel to green onyx, from oxidized copper to polished chrome.

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Ai Weiwei

ST. LOUIS Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University “Bare Life,” which inaugurated the Kemper Museum’s newly expanded and renovated galleries, operated on several levels at once. First and foremost, this dense and multifaceted exhibition was a retrospective of Ai Weiwei’s work from the past 15 years; dozens of works in an array of media addressed themes ranging from human rights to political dissent to globalism.

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Lee Ufan

WASHINGTON, DC Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden A crunch on the ground, wavelets in a pool, a reflection here, a cast shadow there—the effects of ambient light, air, and sound perform integral roles in Lee Ufan’s subtle drama of stone and steel, the star being space itself. For the first time in the Hirshhorn’s 45-year history, an artist has been given the 4.3-acre outdoor plaza to explore and reinvent.

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Daiga Grantina

NEW YORK New Museum Daiga Grantina, a Latvian-born artist working in Paris, has produced a rare thing: a series of sculptural moments that together evoke certain structures of the natural world. Her strategically spaced, sequential pieces are effectively about their own materiality, enclosed and defined by how and from what they are fabricated.

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Jedd Novatt

LONDON Waddington Custot American sculptor Jedd Novatt, who works between his studios in Paris and the industrial city of Eibar in northern Spain, close to Bilbao, describes his early experience of diving as character building and an important influence on how he sees and experiences space, even on dry land.

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Tabor Robak

WASHINGTON, DC von ammon co. “MENTAL”—the title alone encapsulates how many people identify the zeitgeist in this dystopian era, a crisis, in part, of individual freedom and choice that 20th-century existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre predicted in Being and Nothingness. New York-based Tabor Robak updated the theme with wily poignancy in his recent show.

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“By the People”

WASHINGTON, DC Various locations In a city chockablock with monuments, “By the People” alternatively mounts ephemeral public art. Organized by the nonprofit organization Halcyon, which also sponsors residencies for social practice artists and social entrepreneurs, the 2019 “By the People” festival (its second installment) aimed to present “artwork that sparks dialogue and builds bridges within and across communities.”

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