View of “The Uncertainty of Objects and Ideas: Recent Sculpture,” 2006, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC. From left: Mark Handforth, Trashcan Snake, 2005. Mark Handforth, Northern Star, 2005. Mark Handforth, Mobile (Green, Yellow and White), 2002. Mark Handforth, I-Beam, 2002.

“The Uncertainty of Objects and Ideas”

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING, in sculpture especially so. However expanded its field of activity has become, “sculpture” today might be seen to cohere around the deviousness of physical matter—its inexhaustibility, opacity, and guile. This, at least, was the common proposition of the works in the recent show “The Uncertainty of Objects and Ideas: Recent Sculpture”: You will never be able to apprehend all aspects of a sculpture at once, and it will always evade availability as universal (phenomenological) or collective (ideological) experience, despite modernist hopes to the contrary.

Fittingly, the exhibition’s nine artists—Andrea Cohen, Björn Dahlem, Isa Genzken, Mark Handforth, Rachel Harrison, Evan Holloway, Charles Long, Mindy Shapero, and Franz West—had plenty of tricks up their sleeves. Not least of these was an activation of space and material presence that reenergized the

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