Carol Bove - Artworks & Biography | David Zwirner

Carol Bove

A detail from a work by Carol Bove, titled The Facade Commission: Carol Bove, The séances aren’t helping I, II, III, and IV, dated 2021.

Carol Bove, The Facade Commission: Carol Bove, The séances aren’t helping II, 2021 (detail)

Carol Bove has created four sculptures for The Met Fifth Avenue’s facade niches. The Facade Commission: Carol Bove, The séances aren’t helping is the second commission to be featured on the Museum’s facade and will be on view through fall 2021. Made of sandblasted, contorted stainless-steel tubes and five-foot-wide reflective aluminum disks, the sculptures appear astoundingly lithe and supple, almost mercurial, despite their weight and heft—an effect Bove achieves by pushing her materials to their physical limits using incredible force. Projecting outward from the niches, the works confound perception.

Bove works improvisationally and sculpts at scale and in the round, without preparatory drawings. For this commission, she used a one-to-one mock-up of the Museum’s empty niches that was created in her studio. Bove chose a series of nonrepresentational forms that resonate with modernist styles such as Art Deco and abstraction—a stark contrast to the traditional figurative sculptures that the architect Richard Morris Hunt envisioned for The Met’s facade, which was completed in 1902, but was never fully realized. Bove based the size of the aluminum disks on the diameter of the columns that flank the Museum’s niches and the medallion portraits that adorn the spandrels of the arches. The differing orientations result in a playful, rhythmic pattern, yielding a frisson of delight that might throw viewers slightly off-balance. By astutely engaging the Museum’s facade, reimagining its history, and retooling some of its architectural and design elements, the artist subtly calls for us to reevaluate and reckon with the legacies of tradition. 

“Seen from Fifth Avenue," Jason Farago writes in The New York Times, "they appear like a quartet of performers,” Jason Farago writes. “They almost appear to dance as you pass the museum’s four blocks of frontage, like illustrations in a zoetrope. They have an unexpected lightness that belies the steel, and the crunch and crush of their making."

Opening May 4, 2021, David Zwirner will present an exhibition of the artist's new large-scale sculptures at the gallery’s 537 West 20th Street location, marking her fifth solo presentation with the gallery. Featured in the exhibition will be seven vertically oriented works that elaborate on the artist’s ongoing series of “collage sculptures,” composed of various types of steel. These works––made of manipulated steel tubing, painted vibrant red-orange, combined with leaning, bent sheets of hot-rolled steel––envelop the viewer in an immersive presentation that considers the phenomenological experience of form and the surrounding spatial context. Bove’s new sculptures convey an apparent lightness that belies their materiality and monumental scale, and continue the artist’s engagement with the limits of physicality and perception.

Concurrently on view at the uptown gallery on East 69th Street will be an exhibition of new, smaller collage sculptures by the artist. Painted in colors ranging from muted lavender-gray to vibrant yellow, these works engage in different registers of display and scale than the presentation in Chelsea.

A photo of color studies in Carol Bove's studio, dated 2020.

Studio is an online series highlighting recent works by gallery artists. Focusing on a different solo project each time, the series situates artists’ work in their current studio practices through personal snapshots, audio/video recordings, and reference materials.

The first presentation focuses on Carol Bove and her ongoing series of “collage sculptures.” Composed of crushed and manipulated steel painted in vibrant hues, these works push the limits of physicality and test our perceptions of material. Featured alongside are the artist’s color studies which inform her sculptural practice.

A photo by Jason Schmidt of the artist Carol Bove in her studio.

Studio: Carol Bove

May 11– November 24, 2019

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Carol Bove, and Stan Douglas are included in the 58th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia. Curated by Ralph Rugoff, Director of the Hayward Gallery in London, the exhibition is titled May You Live in Interesting Times. "In a speech given in the late 1930s," Rogoff states, "British MP Sir Austen Chamberlain invoked an ancient Chinese curse that he had learned of from a British diplomat who had served in Asia, and which took the curious form of saying, 'May you live in interesting times.' 'There is no doubt that the curse has fallen on us,' Chamberlain observed. 'We move from one crisis to another. We suffer one disturbance and shock after another.' This summary sounds uncannily familiar today as the news cycle spins from crisis to crisis. Yet at a moment when the digital dissemination of fake news and 'alternative facts' is corroding political discourse and the trust on which it depends, it is worth pausing whenever possible to reassess our terms of reference. In this case it turns out that there never was any such 'ancient Chinese curse,' despite the fact that Western politicians have made reference to it in speeches for over a hundred years. It is an ersatz cultural relic, and yet for all its fictional status it has had real rhetorical effects in significant public exchanges. At once suspect and rich in meaning, this kind of uncertain artefact suggests potential lines of exploration that are worth pursuing at present, especially when the 'interesting times' it evokes seem to be with us once again. Hence the 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia will be titled after a counterfeit curse.... in an indirect fashion, perhaps art can be a kind of guide for how to live and think in ‘interesting times.’ The 58th International Art Exhibition will not have a theme per se, but will highlight a general approach to making art and a view of art’s social function as embracing both pleasure and critical thinking. The Exhibition will focus on the work of artists who challenge existing habits of thought and open up our readings of objects and images, gestures and situations. Art of this kind grows out of a practice of entertaining multiple perspectives: of holding in mind seemingly contradictory and incompatible notions, and juggling diverse ways of making sense of the world."

Image: Arsenale, Venice. Photo by Andrea Avezzù. Courtesy La Biennale de Venezia

November 18, 2017–November 2018

In its first ever exhibition devoted to a single artist in the sculpture park, The Contemporary Austin presented an outdoor installation of new and recent large-scale sculptures by Carol Bove.

Anchoring the exhibition in which Bove interpreted a classical sculpture garden was one of the artist’s steel "glyph" works, From the Sun to Zurich (2016). Newly-commissioned examples of Bove's abstract steel "collage sculptures" painted with cyan, yellow, and orange pigments completed the installation.

Images: Installation view, Carol Bove, The Contemporary Austin - Laguna Gloria, Austin, Texas, 2017. Artwork © Carol Bove. Image courtesy The Contemporary Austin. Photo: Brian Fitzsimmons.

December 2–3, 2017

Gallery artists Carol Bove, Jeff Koons, and Raymond Pettibon participated in Who's Afraid of the New Now?, a series of public conversations between artists whose work has shaped the identity of the New Museum in New York as part of the museum's 40th anniversary celebrations.

The title of the series referenced a work by Allen Ruppersberg, whose first New York survey exhibition was held at the museum in 1985. The talks took place on December 2 and December 3, 2017.

The conversation between George Condo and Jeff Koons was covered in ARTNEWS, including sound bites from Koons about his debut exhibition in New York—"I wanted people to have a feeling of coming across something that was in some ways better prepared to survive than yourself"—and Condo's recollections of working for Andy Warhol's Factory.

Earlier in 2017, the New Museum presented the major solo exhibition Raymond Pettibon: A Pen of All Work, featuring over seven hundred drawings from the 1960s to the present and marking the artist's first museum survey in New York. In 2016, The Keeper featured a sculptural installation by Carol Bove created in response to the work of Carlo Scarpa. The New Museum also presented The New—Jeff Koons's first solo exhibition in New York—in 1980.

May 13–November 26, 2017

For the Swiss Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale, Carol Bove created an installation in response to the late figurative work of Alberto Giacometti. Curated by Philipp Kaiser, the Pavilion exhibition Women of Venice also featured the work of the artist duo Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler.

Bove's installation, which spanned an indoor and outdoor space, comprised nine steel sculptures including a "collage sculpture," seven bright cyan colored columnar structures, and a white glyph work.

Interviewed for Apollo magazine, the artist described how Giacometti's work has influenced her own: "He's one of my favorite artists, so it was insightful for Philipp to choose me because I don't always think it's so explicit in my work . . . I've been thinking about Giacometti a lot as somebody who has an interesting sense of the space between objects, or the suggested space around objects . . . "

Read more: further details about the exhibition and the artists' works in Aesthetica Magazine and e-flux

Offering a unique glimpse into her studio, Polka Dots explores the process and work of Carol Bove.

Bove was closely involved in producing this publication designed by Joseph Logan, which is structured around a series of photographs taken by Andreas Laszlo Konrath on visits to her studio in Brooklyn. Through the photographs, the reader experiences not only the development of Bove's most recent body of work—referred to by the artist as "collage sculptures"—but also the materials and conditions that contribute to its creation. The sculptures are constructed from square steel tubing that has been crushed and shaped by Bove, scrap metal that she finds in the industrial environs of her studio in Red Hook, and shallow, highly polished discs. Painted in vivid colors, the sculptures appear lightweight and improvised despite their heavy materiality. In addition to Konrath's rich and intimate photographs, images of individual works are shown silhouetted out of their original contexts. In doing so, Bove aims to draw the viewer away from a typical experience of sculpture.

Released on the occasion of Bove's solo exhibition at David Zwirner in New York in 2016, Polka Dots features an essay by Johanna Burton charting the artist's fascination with process and commitment to disrupting traditional ways of seeing. Published by David Zwirner Books

Carol Bove was included in the Public Art Fund exhibition The Language of Things, on view in City Hall Park, New York during the summer of 2016. The exhibition featured works, including Bove's Lingam, that suggest different forms of coded communication. The sculpture combines petrified wood and industrial steel, two contrasting materials that appear throughout her work.

Bove was also included in the the New Museum exhibition The Keeper, on view during the summer of 2016. The show focused on works related to collection, archivization, and preservation. She installed an arrangement of her sculptures in dialogue with works by Carlo Scarpa, as she had previously done on a larger scale for the 2014 traveling exhibition Carol Bove / Carlo Scarpa.

The 2014 traveling exhibition Carol Bove / Carlo Scarpa brought together works by Bove alongside sculptures, furniture, and exhibition designs by Italian architect Carlo Scarpa. Curated by the Henry Moore Institute and produced in collaboration with Museion and Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, the exhibition considered display strategies, experimentation, and the environment in which art is viewed. Bove herself was closely involved with installation at each venue.

Henry Moore Institute published the accompanying four-language exhibition catalogue with texts by Philippe Duboÿ, Andrea Phillips, and Pavel S. Pyś.

The Equinox at The Museum of Modern Art and Caterpillar on The High Line at the Rail Yards were each comprised of seven sculptures in specific arrangements created by the artist. The MoMA exhibition displayed works on a raised platform in the museum's painting and sculpture galleries, while the High Line exhibition situated Bove's works among vegetation in a then-unfinished portion of the park.

Each venue demonstrated Bove's interest in the display her work in relation to distinct settings. In her review of the exhibitions in The New York Times, Karen Rosenberg called Bove "an exquisite calibrator of contextual relationships."

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