Claudia Brandenburg

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PublisherSculpture Center2018
74 million million million tons is an exhibition about the types of evidence that artworks can produce. Employing different methodologies to investigate, intervene, and assemble, the artists in the exhibition reveal subjects on the threshold of politics and the outskirts of legality: the robot, the refugee, the environment, the startup, and others. While their subject matter is divergent, the exhibition’s artists push against narratives put forth by corporate and government industries by producing specific knowledge and corroborative objects around un-mapped historical and political events. Directly intervening in the moments before such events coalesce into widely accepted narratives, they anticipate and ...
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PublisherSculpture Center2012
A Disagreeable Object brings together 20 artists who employ and borrow from the methods and artistic practices that the Surrealists developed in the first half of the century. This is not an exhaustive survey, nor an attempt to re-consider our understanding of Surrealism as an historical movement. Rather, the exhibition offers a view of contemporary sculpture identifying influences and attitudes that have filtered through decades of cultural production. The works in A Disagreeable Object respond to a decidedly contemporary context…
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PublisherSculpture Center2013
Three characters populate Agnieszka Kurant’s Cutaways, 2013, a short film premiering as part of exformation, the artist’s first exhibition in a United States museum. Played by Dick Miller, Charlotte Rampling, and Abe Vigoda, these characters were found, or more precisely reclaimed, from the cutting room, having been edited out of the final cuts of the feature films for which they were created: Pulp Fiction, Vanishing Point, and The Conversation, respectively. Kurant revives these figures not only by writing a brilliant new script for them but also by casting the original actors: twenty to forty years later, the roles are the ...
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PublisherSculpture Center2016
Ancient Egyptians regarded the balls that dung beetles diligently form as a symbol of the earth. According to Jean-Henri Fabre’s 1921 Book of Insects, the creature was admired for its cosmic synchronicity: creating microcosms by rolling up feces and dirt, it was engaged in sacred activity. However, as Fabre explains in the chapter “The Sacred Beetle,” the beetle’s balls are actually a food source: “It is not at all nice food. For the work of this Beetle is to scour the filth from the surface of the soil. The ball he rolls so carefully is made of his sweepings from ...
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PublisherSculpture Center2015
On a recent visit to an archaeology museum, I was struck by the ornate jewelry dating from the early Bronze Age—bracelets, rings, and necklaces that look remarkably contemporary in design. People have always had a taste for fine things. And of course, these were objects for the wealthy, for those of high social status who were buried with their goods. While I have become accustomed to admiring such items during museum visits, my central thought on this trip was that luxury has always existed. This prosaic musing led me to consider the problematics around luxury. It’s difficult to look at ...
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PublisherSculpture Center2015
Descartes famously believed that animals were living machines; he was said to beat, torture, and vivisect dogs simply to demonstrate that they had no feelings. He interpreted the sounds emerging from the dog’s mouth as mere physical reactions, just the mechanical result of air passing through a windpipe, not indicative of emotional self-expression. According to Descartes and many of his followers, animals were inferior to humans because they lacked the capacity for language. While scientific evidence as well as popular opinion about the emotive actuality and potential of animals has proven that they have inner lives, most do not speak ...
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PublisherSculpture Center2013
A boy plays, cries, smiles, and grimaces in a group of candid, gloss images. Josephine Pryde’s Adoption (2009) series is comprised of pictures of a well-dressed toddler. His name-brand clothing and the environment in which he is photographed give us insight into his life, but also raise questions about choice and consumption. One by one, these images accumulate into an unsettling representation of childhood. The boy pictured is complex—he is frustrated, he is happy, he has desires. He can be manipulated, but he can also manipulate. Subject to mood swings, he can appear alternately adorable and grotesque. Necessarily passive, this ...
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PublisherSculpture Center2018
Newborn was made multiple times. The Romanian-born French modernist sculptor Constantin Brancusi made the first iconic version, Le Nouveau Né, early in the early twentieth century. He carved the eggshaped form from marble in 1915, then made another version in bronze in 1920. The title’s allusion to originality— a key tenet of avant-garde art at the time—also embraced the peculiarities of artistic creation by comparing it to birth; the ovoid sculpture abstractly resembles a crying baby through an indentation on its surface. By shaping an evocative object out of physical material, Brancusi brought a thing into existence. His paternity was ...
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PublisherSculpture Center2017
This exhibition is comprised of sculptures rendered in cacao, drawings, a video piece, and a reading room that provides information on how and why these artworks came to be. The participating artists belong to the collective Cercle d’art des travailleurs de plantation congolaise (CATPC) and work together to make their individual artworks, with the support and guidance of outside collaborators who help get their expressions out into the world. They live in Lusanga, formerly Leverville (named after William Lever, the early twentieth-century Belgian founder of the local palm oil plantation that turned into the modern day Unilever corporation), in the ...
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PublisherSculpture Center2017
Opening with a monologue that guides us through its entirety, Charlotte Prodger’s BRIDGIT, 2016, is a visual essay, a meandering of sorts. Shot entirely on Prodger’s iPhone, the work turns inside out the highly subjective and increasingly ubiquitous form of the personal narrative created through handheld devices and social media. The immediacy and intimacy of iPhone footage makes it an expressive extension of the artist’s movement through space. Her spoken narrative—in which her voice periodically switches with that of another female—takes us through specific moments related and unrelated to the more-or-less static images her gaze rests on. By sharing reflections ...
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PublisherSculpture Center2016
On a menu, octopus, scallop, lobster, shark, and crab mean one thing, and when brushing up against your leg in the ocean, another. In Cosima von Bonin’s work, they resemble oversized stuffed toys, approachable and perhaps even friendly. The hermit crab in LACANCAN, 2010, slumps on the slats beneath the seat of a lifeguard chair and faces two microphones. His audience awaits a speech, or warning, but he remains silent. Like all of von Bonin’s sea creatures, he has invaded a space of human recreation that is normally off-limits. Though he seems to be having a good time doing so, ...
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PublisherSculpture Center2016
Everything changes with the circus. It makes the unbelievable real and the familiar unfamiliar. Formalized during the Victorian era, the institution emerged and evolved through industrialization, drawing on elements of ancient roman rituals, street performances, and esoteric knowledge. Testing the limits of the physical, the circus requires enormous expertise, artistry, endurance, and courage. extraordinarily, it makes danger into entertainment, wild animals into performers, gravity into an illusion. though the rituals and acts of this spectacle have transfixed audiences for centuries, in recent years it has begun to lose its urgency, no longer holding the same sway over audiences. As Federico ...

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