David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of new sculptures by Carol Bove, marking her first show with the gallery in New York. Spanning two adjacent spaces on 525 and 533 West 19th Street in Chelsea, Polka Dots follows the artist’s 2015 exhibition at David Zwirner’s London location.
Bove is known for her assemblages that combine found and made elements. Incorporating a wide range of domestic, industrial, and natural objects, her sculptures, paintings, and prints reveal the poetry of their materials. As the art historian Johanna Burton notes in the catalogue accompanying this exhibition, “Bove brings things together not to nudge associative impulses into free play driven by the unconscious, but rather to conjure a kind of affective tangle that disrupts any singular, historical narrative.”1
The exhibition presents a new series of large-scale “collage sculptures” that mark a departure within the artist’s practice. To create these abstract assemblages, which merge various types of sculptural processes from her earlier works and references to art historical precedents, Bove combines three different types of steel. Six-inch square steel tubing that has been crushed and shaped at her studio is arranged with found scrap metals and punctuated by shallow, highly polished discs. The compositions are either fully or partially painted using a palette of bright colors evocative of Willem de Kooning’s painting Woman and Bicycle (1952-1953).
Despite their heavy materiality, the sculptures appear lightweight, flexible, and improvisational. Their alternating surfaces create a play of textures—while the painted steel resembles clay or fabric, the overall forms evoke complex references that go beyond their stylistic appearances. The contorted shapes vaguely recall Anthony Caro’s bolted and welded forms, John Chamberlain’s crushed sculptures, Mark di Suvero’s abstract expressionist configurations, and Louise Nevelson’s accumulated assemblages, just as they can be seen to incorporate the collagist aesthetic of the Chicago Imagists of the 1960s, who combined disparate art historical styles and techniques. In Daphne and Apollo—a tight arrangement of solid red steel tubing wrapped around large pieces of found steel from a scrapyard—one material seems to morph into another with an allusion of movement similar to the Baroque sculpture of the same title by Bernini.
The new body of work is on view in both galleries along with other sculptures by the artist. In the first space, a large, white “glyph”—part of an ongoing series of flawlessly glossy, looping steel sculptures—is positioned on the floor ahead of three collage sculptures arranged on a broad, low pedestal. The adjacent gallery presents a configuration of the new sculptures, a glyph, and a large-scale, square steel grid. The latter acts as a kind of viewfinder into the room, which is painted a uniform matte black. The structure provides a shifting frame of the show, pictorializing relationships between the works and the viewer.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue designed by Joseph Logan in close collaboration with Bove. Published by David Zwirner Books, it features new scholarship by Johanna Burton and photography by Andreas Laszlo Konrath taken over the course of multiple visits to the artist’s Brooklyn studio. The publication explores both the process and the finished work, offering a behind-the-scenes look into Bove’s practice.
Born in 1971 in Geneva to American parents, Carol Bove was raised in Berkeley, California and studied at New York University. She joined David Zwirner in 2011 and in 2015, The Plastic Unit marked her first solo exhibition at the gallery’s London location.
Bove’s large-scale sculptures are often exhibited outdoors and in public spaces. Most recently, the artist’s steel-beam sculpture, Lingam, was installed in City Hall Park in New York as part of the 2016 summer group exhibition, The Language of Things, organized by Public Art Fund. In 2013, she created a series of sculptures specially for the High Line at the Rail Yards in New York. The project, entitled Caterpillar, was commissioned by High Line Art and ran through 2014. In 2017, the artist’s work will be presented in the Swiss Pavilion for the 57th Venice Biennale.
Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at prominent institutions that include The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Common Guild, Glasgow (all 2013); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2010); Horticultural Society of New York (2009); Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin (2006); Kunsthalle Zürich; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (both 2004); and Kunstverein Hamburg (2003). Major group exhibitions include Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany (2012); 54th Venice Biennale (2011); and the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2008).
In 2014, Bove debuted a new body of work alongside exhibition designs and sculptures by Italian architect Carlo Scarpa. Carol Bove/Carlo Scarpa was curated by the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds, England and produced in collaboration with Museion, Bolzano, Italy and Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium. The show was first hosted by Museion (November 2014 – March 2015), followed by the Henry Moore Institute (April – July 2015) and Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens (October 2015 – January 2016).
Between 2009 and 2013, Bove was a clinical associate professor of studio art in Steinhardt’s Department of Art and Art Professions at New York University.
Work by the artist is represented in permanent collections worldwide, including the Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain (FRAC) Nord-Pas de Calais, Dunkerque, France; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Princeton University Art Museum, New Jersey; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.