Reviews


Ruth Asawa

ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI Pulitzer Arts Foundation While “Ruth Asawa: Life’s Work” did not present her life experience idealistically, her creative, ethical response to her experience and her tenacious devotion to labor became almost transcendent models of work-arounds for obstruction.

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Francis Upritchard

LONDON Barbican Centre Referencing an Iron Age burial site in the north of England, Francis Upritchard’s impressive exhibition, “Wetwang Slack,” announced from the outset that archaeology would be an underlying theme. But this was no dry, bleached-out display of indistinguishable artifacts such as have tried the patience of school children for generations.

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Mike Nelson

LONDON Tate Britain The development of sculpture through the 20th century was made possible, in part, by the development of increasingly sophisticated machinery, and The Asset Strippers expounds that interdependent relationship.

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Tara Donovan

DENVER Museum of Contemporary Art Denver Some of the more recent pieces in “Fieldwork,” Donovan’s recent mid-career retrospective, lacked the aesthetic beauty of her early work with translucent materials like plastic cups. Yet the impact of an elephantine installation amassed from gray file cards is thunderous, as powerful as banyan tree roots, mythical monsters, or the mountains of Huangshan.

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David Rabinowitch

TOKYO Ikeda Gallery The relationship between David Rabinowitch’s sculptures and works on paper is multifaceted. His drawings can be directly linked to his three-dimensional metal fabrications, exist independently of them, or hover somewhat restlessly between the two realms.

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58th Venice Biennale

VENICE Central Pavilion and Arsenale It could be said that Rugoff’s eschewal of a general theme has a Whitmanesque ambition to “contain multitudes,” letting the rooms swell with the unmediated voices of the artists, every object a megaphone. Yet the question in producing behemoth exhibitions like this is always the same in terms of the number of artists and works: How many? The answer is also always the same: as many as the space will bear.

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Monika Sosnowska

GLASGOW The Modern Institute There’s a visual contradiction at the heart of Monika Sosnowska’s new series of sculptures (on view through September 7, 2019). Her mangled steel structures are precisely arranged, hanging on the walls, dangling from the ceiling, and resting imposingly on the concrete floor; they also exude newness with their pristine coats of black paint.

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Rebeca Bollinger

SAN FRANCISCO Gallery 16 The elegant, enigmatic objects and images in Bollinger’s recent exhibition, “The Burrow,” suggest props for an unknown theatrical event, re-presented in a gallery setting and thus opened to non-linear readings.

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Jannis Kounellis

NEW YORK Gavin Brown’s enterprise “I consider myself a silent poet, a blind painter, and a deaf musician,” Jannis Kounellis once said. Such knotty contradictions were a through-line in the Arte Povera pioneer’s work, as a recent show of 20 sculptural assemblages, dating from 1969 through 2016, recently made clear.

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Martin Boyce

ISLE OF BUTE, SCOTLAND Mount Stuart An Inn For Phantoms Of The Outside And In borrows its title from a line in Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Reverie (1960): “Sleep opens within us an inn for phantoms.” Boyce was also inspired by hearing about a long-gone tennis court elsewhere on the grounds.

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