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Oldenburg/van Bruggen, Shuttlecocks, 1994, Aluminum, fiberglass-reinforced plastic, paint, 19' 2-9/16" x 15' 11-7/8" (585.62 x 487.35 cm), acquired through the generosity of the Sosland Family, courtesy Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri © Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen

Art Fairs

A Celebration of Public Art & Sculpture

A Complement to Pace's Presentation for Art Basel Online

Jun 16, 2020

Lynda Benglis

Lynda Benglis was first recognized in the late 1960s for her poured latex and foam works. Known for her exploration of metaphorical and biomorphic shapes, she is deeply concerned with the physicality of form and how it affects the viewer, using a wide range of materials to render dynamic impressions of mass and surface: soft becomes hard, hard becomes soft and gestures are frozen.

Benglis's The Wave of the World (1983–84), now on view at the New Orleans City Park, was created after Benglis was awarded a commission to produce a fountain for the Louisiana World Exposition, a World’s Fair that took place in New Orleans. With its naturalistic shape and brown-green tones, the fountain seamlessly blends in with its location with water pouring from beneath the crest of the sculpture. Similarly, Benglis's Pink Ladies (2014) also incorporates water, an element she first introduced into her practice in 1984. Installed at the Donum Estate in Sonoma, California, the vivid pink color of these fountains is inspired by a single kite that Benglis saw with Asha Sarabhai during an annual kite-flying festival in Ahmedabad, India, where she completed a residency program in 1979. The artist's Power Tower (2019), an eight-foot-tall, newly-fabricated sculpture in undulating form fabricated in bronze, with a high-gloss gold patina, is included in our online presentation Outside In, and is also installed in Poydras Corridor in New Orleans.

Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen

Internationally renowned for their collaborative artistic practice, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen have produced sculptures and colossal monuments that transform familiar objects into states that imply animation and sometimes revolt. Conflating notions of art and banality, and high-brow and low-brow, the investigation of objecthood spans Oldenburg’s earliest work to those he made with van Bruggen over three decades.

Among the duo's most celebrated public sculptures is Shuttlecocks (1994), commissioned for The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. The two responded to the formality of the original neoclassical building and the green expanse of its lawn by imagining the Museum as a badminton net and the lawn as a playing field, designing four birdies that were placed as though they had just landed on opposite sides of the net. Another monumental work, Dropped Bowl with Scattered Slices and Peels (1989), installed at the Metro-Dade Open Space Park in Miami, represents an imaginary moment in time when a huge bowl of orange slices and peels drops to the ground and shatters. In an artist statement written on Spoonbridge and Cherry (1985–1988) at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Oldenburg writes, "Coosje, however, had always considered the spoon form in itself too passive a sculptural subject, which she had once playfully demonstrated by placing a wooden cherry with a stem made from a nail into a spoon found in the studio, an act that instantly energized the subject."

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Fred Wilson, The Mete of the Muse, The New Orleans Museum of Art: Museum purchase with funds provided by Sydney and Walda Besthoff, 2017.191.a,.b

Fred Wilson

Fred Wilson challenges assumptions of history, culture, and race, deconstructing the presentation of objects and cultural symbols. His provocative juxtapositions encourage viewers to question historical narratives and conventions of display, revealing undercurrents of ownership and privilege normalized by institutional practices.

Describing his sculpture The Mete of the Muse, on view in Outside In and at the New Orleans Museum of Art's sculpture garden, Wilson writes:

"I can safely say, juxtaposition is the strongest component in my art. It flows through the artworks I produce, as well as my museum installations and interventions. For me, simple shifts in the relationship of objects can change meaning demonstrably. It often is so subtle it might not be noticed as the catalyst for meaning. I am thoroughly engaged and enthralled with this process. The word "Mete," of the title, is usually used as a verb. As a verb, I am using its archaic (and biblical) meaning: to measure. As a noun I am interested in the word meaning "boundary” and again in Old English "metan," which is related to the Dutch "meten" means "measure". For me, the precise distance between the figures perhaps reveals their personalities and dispositions. The fact that they represent two different parts of the globe could refer to their world view. These bronzes are the colors that the original plasters were when I found them. Retaining their original colors was important to me. It was completely fortuitous, as the figures' close proximity intrinsically and noticeably reveals contemporary meanings to the colors black and white."

Louise Nevelson

Louise Nevelson a leading sculptor of the twentieth century, pioneered site-specific and installation art. While she is recognized for her sculptures comprised of discarded furniture and other found wood elements, she also experimented with bronze, terracotta, and Plexiglas, moving as well into collage, works on paper, and the realm of public art. With her compositions, Nevelson explored the relational possibilities of sculpture, summing up the objectification of the external world into a personal landscape.

For her outdoor public works, Nevelson required permanent materials and called for a visual vocabulary of clearly legible forms somewhere between architectural and human scale. She developed two basic models for her outdoor art: an open screen, as exemplified by works such as Atmospheres and Environments XI, installed in the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan; and groups of vertical sculptural elements, seen in Shadows and Flags at the Louise Nevelson Plaza in New York City. "The former implicitly included the visual parameters of the site; the latter created a visual dialogue with existing greenery or substituted for it," wrote Harriet F. Senie in In The Sculpture of Louise Nevelson: Constructing a Legend.

Art Fairs — A Celebration of Public Art & Sculpture for Art Basel, Jun 16, 2020