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Tyler Green Modern Art Notes

The Modern Art Notes Podcast: Wolfgang Laib

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This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast features artist Wolfgang Laib, who is installing two major works in the U.S. Laib will debut Pollen from Hazelnut in the atrium at the Museum of Modern Art on January 23. At 18 by 21 feet, it will be the largest pollen field he has made. Then the Phillips Collection will open the Laib Wax Room, a new permanent installation, on March 2. It will be the first permanent installation at the Phillips since the museum opened its Rothko Room in 1960.

Laib’s installations typically make use of natural materials such as different kinds of pollen, rice, wax, milk and marble. He has been the subject of numerous retrospectives, including an American retrospective organized by the American Federation of Arts that opened at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in 2000.

Among the topics Laib and I discussed are:

  • The relationship between his work and the architecture in which it is sited;
  • How he chooses what color pollen to use in different environments;
  • The importance of presenting to viewers the method by which he collects pollen; and
  • The history of his wax rooms, in particular how he came up with the idea while in the American West.

On the second segment, Richard McCoy, the conservator of objects and variable art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, tells us about the International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art-North America’s Tony Smith Artist Research Project. INCCA-NA has created a project by which anyone may contribute to the documentation of Smith’s 83 outdoor sculptures on Wikipedia. Among the web pages we discuss are the Wikipedia list of Smith’s outdoor works, the page the project’s volunteers created for Smith’s Gracehoper (1962/88, right) and this art21 blog post, in which INCCA-NA offers a very cool t-shirt to anyone who contributes an entry to the project.

To download the show to your PC/mobile device or to listen in your browser, click here. Subscribe to The Modern Art Notes Podcast via iTunesSoundCloud or RSS. Stream the program at MANPodcast.com. Also, ‘like’ our Facebook page!

The Modern Art Notes Podcast is an independent production of Modern Art Notes Media. It is edited by Wilson Butterworth. The MAN Podcast is released under this Creative Commons license. Special thanks to the Hirshhorn’s library for its assistance with this week’s show.

For images of art discussed on this week’s show, please click through to the jump.

Wolfgang Laib sifting pollen, 1992.

Many images of Laib’s 2009 installation at the Fondazione Merz, Turin.

The Laib wax room at the Kunstmuseum Bonn.

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  1. nat says:

    is anyone going to the upcoming NY show? I am in Canada and cannot go, but am writing a book on Eastern medicine? Can someone help me, by asking the artist in person 2-3 questions for my book? Like, did he “see” when he worked as a doctor at the hospital? Thanks if you can help me out

  2. […] the XYZ axis idea I really enjoyed seeing this Tony Smith sculpture the other day in a great blog: Tony Smith Marriage […]

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