Pollen from Hazelnut, 2013. Pollen, 18 x 21 ft.

Wolfgang Laib: A Detail of Infinity

Much has been written about Laib’s artistic constants—his hermetic practice, distilled forms, and organic materials. A convergence of three projects in 2013 hinted at evolutionary changes in his work: “Over the last few years, I’ve made fewer exhibitions and don’t want to repeat things. So, I make only very special things that I’ve not done before. This is much more difficult, but I also find this challenge beautiful.” In less than six months, Laib completed a wax chamber at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC (his first permanent wax room in a museum), made his largest pollen field to date at the Museum of Modern Art, and choreographed an installation at Sperone Westwater that re-contextualized previously explored components. Another change may lie in viewers, the receivers who complete the work. Laib is typically described as a disenchanted medical student who became an artist. A generation ago, the artist as shaman or healer was current—think Joseph Beuys or Guillermo Gómez-Peña. But is this point of view obsolete in an era of virtual reality? Do people have a need for physical, face-to-face interaction to effect significant exchange… see the entire article in the print version of March’s Sculpture magazine.