“Future Bodies from a Recent Past—Sculpture, Technology, and the Body Since the 1950s”

What makes the body a hybrid material for sculpture? In “Future Bodies,” Patrizia Dander and Franziska Linhardt explore this question through the relation between art and technology. Their transgenerational selection of nearly sixty postwar artists, more than half of them women, reinvigorates ideas about the position of sculpture within art history. Works by Alina Szapocznikow—Pnąca, 1959, and two from her 1970–71 “Fetish” series—are among the exhibition’s earliest. Whether constructing shapes out of terrazzo, casting from the self with resin, or solidifying nylons, Szapocznikow made sculpture part of the body and vice versa. Nicola L. also infused the human form with everyday objects, from furniture to faux fur to a portable Sony television. In her vinyl sculpture Little TV Woman: “I Am the Last Woman Object, 1969, the monitor-cum-midriff broadcasts: “You can . . . touch my breasts . . . my sex . . . But . . . it is the last time.”

Downstairs, Robert Gober’s Untitled, 1990, and Newspaper, 1992, neighbor Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s “Untitled” (Lover Boys), 1991, in a familiar pairing of artists. Yet here, the square cut-out from Gober’s nonfunctional sink mirrors the rectangular candy spill—turquoise swirls that look like peppermint but tastes like cherry. These sensory distortions echo in Nairy Baghramian’s metallic Headgear, 2016, installed in the museum’s central stairwell. The title refers to the orthodontic tool that can realign the jaw. Suspended high above visitors, Baghramian’s monumental forms pull the museum in similar ways. Now, the artist is the orthodontist, and the museum is the patient ready to be remade.

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