Carol Bove: The Equinox
July 20, 2013–January 12, 2014
The Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Painting and Sculpture Galleries, fourth floor
The Equinox is an arrangement of seven sculptures by the Swiss-born American artist Carol Bove. The ensemble, created specifically for The Museum of Modern Art, brings together sculptures that represent Bove’s particular artistic vocabulary, marrying modernist forms like cubes, rectangles, and cylinders with a wide variety of materials—from weighty I-beams and smoothly curved powder-coated steel to organic driftwood, seashells, and peacock feathers.
Bove was born in Geneva in 1971, raised in Berkeley, California, and currently lives in Red Hook, Brooklyn. South Brooklyn’s industrial landscape has been inspirational for the artist, and a number of her signature materials—rusted I-beams, for example—were originally harvested from neighborhood junkyards and building sites. Other found objects that she has used repeatedly, including peacock feathers and driftwood, relate to a Northern California aesthetic of the 1960s and early 1970s. While Bove was too young to have direct memories of this period, her work alludes to the ethos of that time by incorporating artifacts that symbolize its Utopian aspirations of connecting the natural and the man-made. The title of this ensemble, The Equinox, makes reference to both the biannual celestial event in which the sun crosses the equator, causing day and night to be of equal length, and to esoteric traditions that study natural phenomena as a key to harnessing nature’s power. Mirroring the equilibrium that the equinox represents, each sculpture is a balance of the organic and the non-organic, the geometric and the biomorphic. Like talismans or charms, these objects, made from silver and brass, rusted iron or worn wood, also seem to carry mystical properties that emanate equally from their shapes and from their materials.
Bove has exhibited internationally, in solo exhibitions at The Common Guild in Glasgow, The Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the Blanton Art Museum in Austin, the Kunsthalle in Zurich, the ICA in Boston, and the Kunstverein in Hamburg. She has participated in Documenta 13, the 54th Venice Biennale, and the Whitney Biennial, among many other noteworthy group exhibitions.