On the Cover:
Jean Shin, TEXTile (detail), 2006. 22,528 recycled computer keycaps and 192 custom keycaps, fabric, customized active keyboard and interactive software, video projection, and painted aluminum armatures. Photo: Courtesy Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia.
Climate catastrophe is so pervasive, so in our faces, that it has become impossible to look away from it. Because Sean Donovan, the young artist whose interview kicks off this issue, recognizes that environmental disaster, as he puts it, “is engrained in every aspect of our culture,” his sculptural work confronts it directly. On the other hand, Foon Sham, the recipient of the ISC’s 2021 Outstanding Educator Award, addresses sustainability and recycling more obliquely, by creating sculptural vessels out of salvaged wood. Similarly, Jean Shin’s large-scale collaborative installations take on the issue by incorporating such materials as old straws, cell phones, and Mountain Dew bottles. By using old tree trunks and other types of wood, Mel Kendrick gestures at the panoply of tribulations that we face relating to nature, even though his pieces explicitly address only such aesthetic concerns as the relationship between interior and exterior. Artists today see problems everywhere and find beauty in proposing novel solutions or at least questions. Consider, for instance, the range of conundrums confronted by those emerging artists featured in this issue’s 2021 Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Awards. Or for that matter, by Sheila Pepe, whose “subversive stitching” practice aims to establish a web of connections to various feminist struggles both past and present. —Daniel Kunitz