Friday, December 17, 2010

Nick's London Trip

From November 29 - December 2, I was in London, meeting with British sculptors, galleries, and museums.

Nick Capasso
Deputy Director for Curatorial Affairs

Here are some highlights:

Tuesday, November 29
I met with Claire Shea, Curator at the Cass Sculpture Foundation (formerly Sculpture at Goodwood), which exists to promote the work of contemporary British sculptors. Claire and I had lunch at the Tate Britain to discuss possible Cass/deCordova collaborations.

At Tate Britain, I saw the 2010 Turner Prize show, along with artist Fiona Banner’s massive sculptures based on British fighter jets, the Tate’s 2010 Duveen Commission.

Later that afternoon I met with sculptor Laura Ford at her home and studio in Kentish Town. Sorry, no pictures. Laura will be having a major exhibition of her work next summer at the Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and represented Wales in the Venice Biennale in 2005.

Wednesday, November 30

James Clapper

After a visit with young British sculptor James Capper at his studio in Southwark, he took me to see his sculpture, Sea Light, which was floating on the Thames in front of the Tate Modern. Sea Light uses both wind and solar energy to power a battery that in turn electrically illuminates the sculpture at night. Capper is interested in the aesthetic and technological places where sculpture and engineering meet. Sea Light is part of Drift 10, an exhibition program of sculptures in and along the Thames sponsored by the Henry Moore Foundation.

Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds (detail)

Later that morning, I visited Ai Weiwei’s installation Sunflower Seeds at the Tate Modern. Here, this prominent Chinese artist placed over one hundred million hand-made porcelain sunflower seeds on the floor of the Tate Modern’s massive Turbine Hall. According to Ai, this number is just five times the population of Beijing.

Ai Weiwei, Sunflower Seeds

During the afternoon and evening, I met with sculptor Gary Webb. Gary’s work is very well known in England and throughout Europe - recently the Tate acquired two of his major sculptures - but less so in the United States. I am organizing Gary’s first American solo museum exhibition for deCordova for the summer of 2012, with all new indoor and outdoor work that Gary will create especially for the show.

Gary Webb, Tom's Music

Here’s Gary at his London gallery, The Approach, in Bethnal Green, where he is currently showing new sculptures. Gary is standing with Tom’s Music

Gary Webb, Miami Poo Pipe

Gary Webb’s Miami Poo Pipe. The surface colors of this sculpture gradually change, controlled by internal heating devices on timers.

Thursday, December 2

I spent the morning traipsing through the uncharacteristically cold, windy, and snowy Kensington Gardens, to see outdoor work by Anish Kapoor. This exhibition, Turning the World Upside Down, is sponsored by London’s Serpentine Gallery.

Anish Kapoor, Sky Mirror, Red, 2007
Anish Kapoor, Non-Object (Spire), 2007

In the far background is the spire of the late-19th century Albert Memorial.

Anish Kapoor, C-Curve, 2007

Whenever I travel abroad, I always try to find some time for a historical site. My visit to the Tower of London, begun in the 1080s by William the Conqueror, stood in stark contrast to several days spent with contemporary sculpture!

The Tower of London