Asterisms. A two-part sculptural and photographic installation comprising thousands of items of detritus the artist has gathered at two sites - a playing field near his home in New York and a protected coastal biosphere in Baja California Sur, Mexico, that is also the repository for flows of industrial and commercial waste from across the Pacific Ocean.
From November 9, 2012 through January 13, 2013, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum presents Gabriel Orozco: Asterisms, a two-part sculptural and photographic installation by the Mexican-born artist comprising thousands of items of detritus he gathered at two sites—a playing field near his home in New York and a protected coastal biosphere in Baja California Sur, Mexico, which is also the repository for flows of industrial and commercial waste from across the Pacific Ocean. The two newly commissioned works invoke several recurring themes in Orozco’s oeuvre, including the traces of erosion, poetic encounters with mundane materials, and the ever-present tension between nature and culture.
The exhibition is organized by Nancy Spector, Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and Joan Young, Director, Curatorial Affairs, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and is accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue. This exhibition is made possible by Deutsche Bank. The Leadership Committee for Gabriel Orozco: Asterisms is gratefully acknowledged for its support: Katherine Farley and Jerry I. Speyer, Marieluise Hessel and Ed Artzt, and Larry and Marilyn Fields.
Asterisms marks the eighteenth project in the series of commissions organized by the Guggenheim Foundation and the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin, where it is on view through October 21. One component of the exhibition, Sandstars, responds to the unique environment encountered in Isla Arena, Mexico, a wildlife reserve, which is simultaneously a whale mating ground, whale cemetery, and industrial wasteland. Orozco has worked there before, having extracted from its sands the whale skeleton that forms the sculpture Mobile Matrix (2006), now permanently installed in the Biblioteca de México José Vasconcelos in Mexico City. His return to this sanctuary yielded entirely new results in response to the voluminous amounts of detritus deposited there by ocean currents. He created a large sculptural installation from the refuse he collected—including metal and plastic buoys, athletic balls, glass bottles, incandescent light bulbs, wooden oars, metal implements like screws and hinges, Styrofoam in various forms, construction-site hard hats, and ossified rolls of toilet paper—by subjecting it to taxonomic arrangement on the gallery floor. This monumental sculptural carpet of nearly 1,200 objects is accompanied by twelve large-scale gridded photographs of images of the individual objects in a studio setting, organized typologically by material, color, size, and so on. A thirteenth grid documents the landscape from which the objects were retrieved, along with incidental compositions made in situ from the castaway items. This framed pictorial inventory is shown in proximity to the sculptural accumulation, creating a kind of visual ricochet between an object and its representation. The effect is one of entropic dissolution tempered by rigorous order.
Included with Sandstars is a video, Whale after Waves (2012), which illuminates the environment of Isla Arena.
The second component, Astroturf Constellation, similarly explores taxonomic classification, but on a completely different scale. It comprises a collection of small bits of debris left behind by athletes and spectators in the Astroturf of a playing field on Pier 40 in New York, where the artist regularly throws boomerangs. Orozco displays these myriad items—including coins, sneakers logos, bits of soccer balls, candy wrappers, wads of chewing gum, and tangles of thread, again numbering nearly 1,200—on a large platform. As in Sandstars, the objects are displayed alongside thirteen photographic grids, a combination that again underscores the nuanced relationship between sculpture and photography in Orozco’s oeuvre.
In the exhibition, and the commission as a whole, the two related bodies of work play off each other in a provocative oscillation between the macro and the micro. Asterisms also reveals and amplifies Orozco’s subtle practice of subjecting the world to personal, idiosyncratic systems.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue that includes an essay by Nancy Spector. The catalogue, designed by Kloepfer-Ramsey, costs $55 and will soon be available at guggenheimstore.org.
Education and Public Programs
Details on the public programs presented in conjunction with Gabriel Orozco: Asterisms will be posted on guggenheim.org/publicprograms. Highlights include:
Free with museum admission
Curator’s Eye: Led by exhibition curator
Friday, Nov 30, 2 pm – Joan Young
Friday, Jan 11, 2 pm – Joan Young
Conservator’s Eye: Led by museum conservator
Friday, Nov 16, 2 pm – Esther Chao
Elaine Terner Cooper Education Fund: Conversations with Contemporary Artists Series
Gabriel Orozco with Benjamin Buchloh
Tues, Nov 13, 6:30 pm Benjamin Buchloh, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Modern Art, Harvard University and the foremost expert on Orozco’s work, joins the artist to discuss Asterisms and his practice in general. Reception follows. $10, $7 members, free for students with RSVP. For tickets visit guggenheim.org/publicprograms or call the Box Office at 212 423 3587.
The Deutsche Bank Series at the Guggenheim
Gabriel Orozco: Asterisms represents the eigtheenth project in the unique and ambitious series of contemporary art commissions by the Guggenheim and Deutsche Bank launched in 1997 to coincide with the opening of the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin. The Deutsche Guggenheim was conceived as a partnership and consists of three main objectives: the presentation of thematic exhibitions that recognize artists who have contributed significantly to the development of art; the presentation of works from the Deutsche Bank Collection; and the commissioning of site-specific works by both emerging and established artists. Artists who have created new works as part of this program since its inception include Paweł Althamer, John Baldessari, Hanne Darboven, Anish Kapoor, William Kentridge, Jeff Koons, Julie Mehretu, Gabriel Orozco, Gerhard Richter, James Rosenquist, Andreas Slominski, Agathe Snow, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Bill Viola, Jeff Wall, Phoebe Washburn, Lawrence Weiner, and Rachel Whiteread.
Gabriel Orozco: Asterisms is the fifth exhibition in the Deutsche Bank Series at the Guggenheim, which is dedicated to exhibiting some of the works of art commissioned jointly by Deutsche Bank and the Guggenheim Foundation as well as other thematic exhibitions.
About Gabriel Orozco
Gabriel Orozco (b. 1962, Jalapa, Mexico) attended the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City and studied at the Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid. Solo exhibitions of Orozco’s work have been presented at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1995 and 1998), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. (2004), Serpentine Gallery in London (2004), and Museo Nacional Centre de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid (2005), among other venues. Traveling retrospectives have been organized by the Kunsthalle Zürich (1996–97), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (2000–01), and the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2009-10), which traveled to Kunstmuseum Basel (2010), Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (2010-11), and Tate Modern in London (2011). His work has been included in such significant group exhibitions as the Venice Biennale (1993, 2003, and 2005), Whitney Biennial (1995 and 1997), Carnegie International (1999), and Documenta 10 and 11 (1997 and 2002). Orozco has received numerous awards, including the Secció Espacios Alternativos prize at the Salón Nacional de Artes Plásticas in Mexico City in 1987, a DAAD artist-in-residence grant in Berlin in 1995, and the blau orange Kunstpreis der Deutschen Volksbanken und Raiffeisenbanken in 2006. Orozco currently lives and works in New York, Paris, and Mexico City.
About the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Founded in 1937, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of art, primarily of the modern and contemporary periods, through exhibitions, education programs, research initiatives, and publications. The global network that began in the 1970s when the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, was joined by the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, has expanded to include the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (opened 1997), the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin (1997–2013), and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (currently under development). Looking to the future, the Guggenheim Foundation continues to forge international collaborations that take contemporary art, architecture, and design beyond the walls of the museum. More information about the foundation can be found at guggenheim.org.
Admission: Adults $22, students/seniors (65+) $18, members and children under 12 free. Admission includes an audio tour of the current exhibitions in English, in addition to an audio tour presenting highlights from the Guggenheim’s permanent collection and information about the building, available in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.
Museum Hours: Sun-Wed, 10 am-5:45 pm; Fri, 10 am-5:45 pm; Sat, 10 am-7:45 pm; closed Thurs. On Saturdays, beginning at 5:45 pm, the museum hosts Pay What You Wish. From October 5 through January 23, extended hours from 10 am–8 pm will be offered on Sundays and Mondays, with the exception of holidays on December 24 and 31. For general information, call 212 423 3500 or visit the museum online at:
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Media Preview: Thursday, November 8, 10 am–12 pm
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Museum Hours: Sun–Wed, 10 am–5:45 pm; Fri, 10 am–5:45 pm; Sat, 10 am–7:45 pm; closed Thurs. On Saturdays, beginning at 5:45 pm, the museum hosts Pay What You Wish. Throughout the duration of Picasso Black and White, the museum will offer extended hours on Sundays and Mondays from 10am until 8 pm, October 5 through January 23, with the exception of holidays on December 24 and 31.
Admission: Adults $22, students/seniors (65+) $18, members and children under 12 free.