How to define sculpture in 2022? This issue of Art in America offers considerable insight in answering that question, beginning with thoughts from curators we asked to weigh in. The Dia Art Foundation’s Alexis Lowry quotes sculptor Melvin Edwards: “My whole thing about sculpture is that it’s relative.” Julieta González from the Inhotim Museum in Brazil points out that “sculptures provide not only physical and perceptual experiences, but often symbolic ones as well.” SculptureCenter’s Kyle Dancewicz refers to the sculptor’s pursuit as a “a void-shaped discipline.” And Karen Lemmey from the Smithsonian American Art Museum reminds us that “unlike in the past, sculpture today is assembled from anything.”
Sculpture can be as big and broad as a landscape, as we see in Kirsten Swenson’s story about treating land reclamation as a form of art project in the 1970s. And it can be as intimate as something a hand can hold, as Glenn Adamson suggests in a consideration of different ways that craft and sculpture connect. Analyzing the sculptures of Clementine Keith-Roach, one of which graces our cover, Adamson writes that they “prize craft not just as a practical way to get things done, but as a source of cultural resonance.” He goes on to note that “making-by-hand is a way to express a sense of belonging.”
Do Ho Suh, who made the special pull-out print in this issue, speaks of pedestals—an integral part of his work, and of sculpture’s history—sharing similarities with the way that words function in a sentence. In a roundtable moderated by Art in America Ideas Editor Mira Dayal, artist Gordon Hall says, “The thing I love about sculpture—which is also maddening and makes it difficult—is that it puts you into such a close relationship with physical stuff, with things and weight and messes.” He tells his students to think of sculpture “less as a category of artwork than as a way of approaching artmaking in general: it could involve writing or speaking, as well as any kind of making that has to do with material intimacy.”
Every article in this issue has a shape and a multitude of dimensions, and each is the result of making. I hope you’ll take each one in and consider it from a variety of vantage points.
—Sarah Douglas, Editor in Chief
Reviews of international exhibitions of note:
Rachel Wetzler on the Venice Biennale
Nancy Princenthal on the American Pavilion
Emily Watlington on the Berlin Biennale
Minh Nguyen on Documenta 15
Yooyun Yang by Andrew Russeth
Often working from photographs, the Korean painter renders interior scenes drenched in sadness and anomie.
Amanda Hunt, the Walker Art Center’s head of public engagement, learning, and interpretation, tells us what’s on her mind.
Sartorial Studies by Chen & Lampert
Artist-curators Howie Chen and Andrew Lampert offer advice on social media and social style.
ARTIST’S CHOICE: BOOKS
Ten artists tell us about a book that has shaped their practice this year.
History’s Painter by Daniel Spaulding
A review of Benjamin H.D. Buchloh’s Gerhard Richter: Painting after the Subject of History.
Q&A with objects and sculpture conservator Emily B. Frank.
WHAT IS SCULPTURE?
Curators Karen Lemmey, Alexis Lowry, Julieta González, and Kyle Dancewicz consider links between today’s fluid artistic practices and sculpture’s elusive definition.
FROM GRAVEL PITS TO SCULPTURE PARKS
by Kirsten Swenson
In the 1970s, a Seattle-area initiative made land reclamation a key element of artists’ earthwork designs.
by Rachel Wetzler
Working with meager resources in interwar Poland, Katarzyna Kobro pioneered a fusion of abstract sculpture and social space.
by Mira Dayal
Do Ho Suh’s new project is a wry take on traditional monuments—as seen in a special pull-out print.
MONUMENTS FOR THE MOMENT
by Glenn Adamson
Artists rooted in craft tell different kinds of stories in their work—some procedural, others thematic.
Sculptors Gordon Hall, Abigail Lucien, Lydia Ourahmane, and Michael Rakowitz discuss their transformations of materials and objects.
AUTHORSHIP AND AUTHORITY
by Joseph L. Underwood
A huge figurative monument in Dakar, Senegal, raises issues of governmental power, religious propriety, financing, creative control, and taste.
Magazzino Italian Art, Cold Spring, New York
Sperone Westwater, New York
Amy Lien and Enzo Camacho
47 Canal, New York
Hyunjee Nicole Kim
Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space, New York
Diana Seo Hyung Lee
Joshua Rashaad McFadden
George Eastman Museum, Rochester, New York
St. Louis Art Museum
Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe
Track 16, Los Angeles
Musée du Luxembourg, Paris