October 21, 2014

The Arts Abroad: Sculpture After Sculpture at the Moderna Museet

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By JULIA SYLVESTER

Although I am a Senior at Cornell, I have decided to abandon the Hill for my penultimate semester to pursue the beginning of a career in the art world. I am studying with the Sotheby’s Institute of Art — connected to the fine art auctioneer of the same name — and in the meantime have been exploring the vibrant art scene that London has to offer. The art world is as intriguing as it is opaque — a place where paintings sell for $142 million (Francis Bacon), yet the majority of artists cannot support themselves solely by practicing their craft. London is largely considered the art hub of Western Europe, but it also provides a jumping off point for my art-related travels around England and beyond.

On that note, a recent trip to Stockholm and the Moderna Museet (Modern Art Museum) inspired a discussion of its temporary exhibit Sculpture After Sculpture: Fritsch, Koons, Ray. Each of the artists — Katharina Fritsch, Jeff Koons and Charles Ray — reacts to the often abstracted and minimal forms of previous modern sculpture, as well as Pop Art and the readymade. Each of the artists subverts and distorts common subject matter in their work, whether through a 15-foot electric blue cockerel statue (Fritsch), monumental steel tulips and balloon dogs (Koons) or oversize mannequins dressed in seasonal fashions (Ray). Taken together, these works of the 1980s and 1990s signal a return to more traditional and figurative forms, but rethought and subverted via subject matter, material and scale.

Courtesy of the Moderna Museet

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