Magazine article Artforum International

"Threshold." (Various Artists, Fundacao De Serralves, Porto, Portugal)

Magazine article Artforum International

"Threshold." (Various Artists, Fundacao De Serralves, Porto, Portugal)

Article excerpt

Without a doubt, the artistic genre that has undergone the most radical transformations in recent decades is sculpture. In the '60s and '70s, these metamorphoses were formal in nature and they contributed to what became known as the "expansion of the sculptural field." In the '80s and early '90s, on the other hand, it was sculpture's role as public art, its relation to social spaces, and to everyday life that was the object of debate.

Because the revolutionary and utopian visions of the avant-garde have yet to be fulfilled, it is necessary to raise the question of sculpture's place once again. It is this question that Dan Cameron lucidly addressed in "Threshold: Ten American Sculptors," an exhibition of work by the youngest generation of American artists. For these artists, the "extension" of the sculptural field cannot be resolved simply by adding new "nonsites." In effect, it seems that no site-no matter how strange, marginal, or borderline - remains that has not already been invaded by sculpture. It seems that, rather than attempting to boundary between art and life, the place from which sculpture may most effectively exercise its symbolic power is on the border between the two.

The Fundacao de Serralves is surely the best of all possible places to mount such an exhibition, given the palace's own architectural rhetoric; it was a private palace at the turn of the century and was recently converted into a public cultural foundation. Surrounded by a series of ravishing gardens - from the Baroque to the Romantic - and farmland, this palace seems to embrace the distance that separates heaven from earth, public from private, and utopia from reality. …

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