Piggy Back (A Caballit0) 1997
Juan Munoz (1953-2001)
Speed Art Museum Louisville, KY
I have a lot of thoughts on themes which I've been avoiding but I think I may follow one this week (we'll see what Tuesday holds...). Contemporary Sculpture will be my offering. I will try to share a range of work that has been created since 1980 and it may or may not cross over into installation (the history of sculpture class I took in college was predominantly installation - which I did find annoying at the time, my knowledge of sculpture history is not so good!)
Juan Munoz is one of my favorite contemporary sculptors (though he unfortunately passed away too soon in 2001). One of the special artists that always causes me an excited breath when I see one of his works in a museum visit. Happily, we have one of his sculptures at TMA, and I discovered a new one this past Friday at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, KY (which I highly recommend taking a visit too, both the city and the museum)
The experience of a Munoz sculpture or installation can be a little unnerving at first. His figures have incomplete faces, yet are not expressionless. One feels as if they have interrupted the space of the figures. While near life-size, their stature appears small due to the their often hunched or slumped physicalness. It often appears as if their bodies are not complete or that they cannot completely fill the space of the materiality of their clothing. The figures invoke a quietude that in a way requests respect from the spectator. Munoz deliberately stops short of fully enhanced realism in his sculptures with the intention of allowing them a greater and fuller life in their abstracted openness. This also adds to the sense of isolation the figures invoke. “The more realistic sculptures are meant to be," Muñoz has said, "the less interior life they have." (Speed descrip.) These figures have often taken position amongst architectural spaces in site specific installations created by Munoz. Unfortunately, I've never see one in person, but fell for Munoz through an exhibition catalog of one of these installations (A Place Called Abroad) at the Dia Art Foundation which I bought having never seen the show years ago.