Awarded the Turner Prize in 1987, Richard Deacon (b.1944) has occupied the foreground of British sculpture since the early 1980s and continues to be an artist of profound international significance, fulfilling major public sculpture commissions around the world. His work emerged alongside that of contemporaries such as Tony Cragg and Richard Wentworth in the early 1980s. Their sculpture rejected the heroic formalism and sometimes oppressive monumentality of the previous generation – which included Antony Caro and Richard Serra – in favour of an engagement with objects reminiscent of everyday situations and chance occurences. Deacon can also, however, be seen as an heir to sculptors such as Caro, in terms of the exquisite virtuosity of his constructions in wood or metal, which range in scale from the domestic to the monumental. Somewhere between aeronautics and anatomy, many of Deacon’s large-scale sculptures recall chassis or ribcages. Some loop and curve out across space like three-dimensional drawings, others hover on the floor like great drops of liquid. The forms he creates evoke the material world of everyday artefacts and the inner world of the body, as a site of sensuality, memory and language. His many large scale public commissions have ranged from sets of gates for cities to backdrops for major performance events, to sculptures situated prominently in public squares and parks. These are complemented by smaller-scale works such as his ongoing series Art for Other People, in which a diverse range of everyday industrial materials are fashioned into familiar-seeming, yet absurdly uncanny, sculptural forms. The new edition of this monograph has been updated to include over 50 additional pages documenting the artist’s work since 1995, including a major retrospective at the Tate Liverpool. The Update essay by Penelope Curtis, Head of Programmes at the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, approaches Deacon’s recent work through an examination of the links between his drawings and collages and the three-dimensional sculptures. In the Survey, British writer and curator Jon Thompson traces the geneaology of Deacon’s work in relation to language. The artist talks with Pier Luigi Tazzi, Co-Director of Documenta 9, about the context of space and place. In the Focus, U.S. art critic Peter Schjeldahl reveals the complexities of a single sculpture, Keeping the Faith (1992). The Artist’s Choice, by renowned anthropologist Mary Douglas, is on dirt ‘as a matter out of place’. His own writings are on subjects ranging from Rilke’s poetry to the car as public sculpture.
A personal encounter with 50 of the world’s most significant contemporary artists, “pressPlay” draws together the full texts of the complete Phaidon interviews with living artists, 1995-2005, originally appearing in “Phaidon’s Contemporary Artists” series and “Robert Mangold” monograph. Highlights include veteran painter Vija Celmins and noted sculptor Robert Gober (who represented the US at the 2001 Venice Biennale) in an intimate discussion on their differing art practices; longtime friends and fellow travellers for decades, Benjamin Buchloh and Lawrence Weiner recall 35 years of work, in the definitive, career-long interview for this key Conceptual artist; the late Sir Ernst Gombrich honoured the “Contemporary Artists” series in a discussion with the UK’s pre-eminent sculptor Antony Gormley – who confesses that it was Gombrich’ “Story of Art” that first inspired him to become an artist; the taciturn, legendary Raymond Pettibon muses on the evolution of his work with noted hip novelist Dennis Cooper; musician artist Christian Marclay is interviewed by Sonic Youth rockstar Kim Gordon. From highly established artists Louise Bourgeois and Alex Katz, to midcareer masters Richard Prince, Mike Kelley, Fischli and Weiss, Jenny Holzer, and Raymond Pettibon, to the most exciting artists of the current generation, including Maurizio Cattelan, Olafur Eliasson and Pipilotti Rist, pressPlay is a highly readable, comprehensive look at contemporary art today. Vito Acconci/Mark C Taylor; Doug Aitken/Amanda Sharp; Uta Barth/Matthew Higgs; Christian Boltanski/Tamar Garb; Louise Bourgeois/Paulo Herkenhoff; Cai Guo Qiang/Octavio Zaya; Maurizio Cattelan/Nancy Spector; Vija Celmins/Robert Gober; Richard Deacon/Pier Luigi Tazzi; Mark Dion/Miwon Kwon; Stan Douglas/Diana Thater; Marlene Dumas/Barbara Bloom; Jimmie Durham/Dirk Snauwaert; Olafur Eliasson/Daniel Birnbaum; Peter Fischli and David Weiss/Beate Soentgen; Tom Friedman/Dennis Cooper; Isa Genzken/Diedrich Diederichsen; Antony Gormley/Sir Ernst Gombrich; Dan Graham/Mark Francis; Paul Graham/Gillian Wearing; Hans Haacke/Molly Nesbit; Mona Hatoum/Michael Archer; Thomas Hirschhorn/Alison M Gingeras; Jenny Holzer/Joan Simon; Roni Horn/Lynne Cooke; Ilya Kabakov/David A Ross; Alex Katz/Robert Storr; Mary Kelly/Douglas Crimp; Mike Kelley/Isabelle Graw; William Kentridge/Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev; Yayoi Kusama/Akira Tatehata; Robert Mangold/Sylvia Plimack Mangold; Christian Marclay/Kim Gordon; Paul McCarthy/Kristine Stiles; Cildo Meireles/Gerardo Mosquera; Lucy Orta/Roberto Pinto; Raymond Pettibon/Dennis Cooper; Richard Prince/Jeff Rian; Pipilotti Rist/Hans Ulrich Obrist; Doris Salcedo/Carlos Basualdo; Thomas Schutte/James Lingwood; Lorna Simpson/Thelma Golden; Nancy Spero/Jo Anna Isaak; Jessica Stockholder/Lynne Tillman; Wolfgang Tillmans/Peter Halley; Luc Tuymans/Juan Vicente Aliaga; Jeff Wall/Arielle Pelenc; Gillian Wearing/Donna De Salvo; Lawrence Weiner/Benjamin H D Buchloh; Franz West/Bice Curiger.
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