Sunday, August 27, 2006

Uncertainty at the Hirshhorn

A few days ago I received a news release announcing that this fall the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden will dedicate the entire second floor of the museum to an exploration of sculpture.

On view from Oct. 26 to Jan. 7, 2007, "The Uncertainty of Objects and Ideas: Recent Sculpture" features the works of nine "influential and emerging international sculptors."

This begs the question: can an artist be "emerging" and already be "influential"?

And where does that leave Kathryn Cornelius? After all, according to the WaPo's Chief Art critic, she's only "barely emerging."

The nine emerging sculptors are:

Andrea Cohen (born 1970, American, lives in Brooklyn)
Björn Dahelm (born 1974, German, lives in Berlin)
Isa Genzken's (born 1948, German, lives in Berlin)
Mark Handforth's (born 1966, British, lives in Miami)
Rachel Harrison (born 1966, American, lives in Brooklyn)
Evan Holloway's (born 1967, American, lives in Los Angeles)
Charles Long's (born 1958, American, lives in Los Angeles)
Mindy Shapero's (born 1974, American, lives in Los Angeles)
Franz West (born 1947, Austrian, lives in Vienna)

Each artist will be represented by several pieces, while three of the artists — Rachel Harrison, Evan Holloway and Charles Long — also have been invited to select and create installations of sculptural works from the Hirshhorn's collection in galleries adjacent to the exhibition.

"There is a pronounced psychological dimension to these works, which appear by turns lively and poetic, abundant and controlled, vulnerable and solid, chaotic and composed, ordinary and exceptional," says Associate Curator, the fair Anne Ellegood, organizer of the exhibition.

According to the news release, the exhibition "examines the ways in which the artists respond to the history of modern sculpture and their efforts to create forms inspired by challenging, often elusive concepts. The exhibition propels this exploration firmly into the 21st century with these artists' shared commitment to the study of sculpture as a medium and to creating freestanding, autonomous forms made from a variety of traditional and unexpected materials. Despite their physicality, these sculptures lie somewhere between an object and an idea—offering insight into how sculpture can challenge and expand our understanding of the world around us."

While I applaud that the museum is (finally) looking to bring to light some emerging artists, I wish that Ms. Ellegood would have also at least looked into her own local art scene to try to pick a DC area emerging artist to include in this exhibition.

Perhaps promoting Cornelius from "barely emerging" to "emerging" in the process!