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Muse Reviews: 27 April

27 April 2014

A round-up of the week’s reviews…

Lost Kingdoms: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum (Louise Nicholson)


Kalkin, Vishnu’s Future Avatar (detail) Lent by National Museum of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. Photo: Thierry Ollivier

Now the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, has staged a landmark show, ‘Lost Kingdoms’. For the first time, a major loan show of these sculptures – many of them masterpieces, many of them monumental in size – turns the spotlight on seven kingdoms ranging from Burma’s Pyu to Indonesia’s Srivijaya, which was a regional centre for Buddhist learning with key connections to India’s major monasteries including Nalanda, Sarnath and Amaravati.

Richard Wilson's sculpture 'Slipstream', on permanent display at London's Heathrow Airport.

Richard Wilson’s sculpture ‘Slipstream’, on permanent display at London’s Heathrow Airport. Photo: Steve Bates. © LHR Airports Limited.

Interview: Richard Wilson talk to Martin Gayford about his recently unveiled sculpture Slipstream at London’s Heathrow Terminal 2

The sheer statistics of Slipstream are impressive. It is as large as an A330-300 Airbus: 70 metres in length, weighing 77 tonnes; its curvilinear 1,650 square metre aluminium skin is held together with half a million rivets. But as Wilson’s example of the arm in the bucket illustrates, Slipstream is essentially concerned with a subject both simple and elusive: making visible in three dimensions the passage through the air of a fast moving object. It is a huge, highly engineered aluminium model of a hole in space. Or to put it another way, it is a sculpture of movement.

(A.H. 1059 / 1649 C.E), Commissioned by the Mother of Sultan Murad IV

‘Incense Burner’ Commissioned by the Mother of Sultan Murad IV (A.H. 1059 / 1649 C.E), Commissioned by the Mother of Sultan Murad IV © National Museum, Riyadh

First Look: Roads of Arabia at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kimberly Masteller)

‘Roads of Arabia’ presents new archaeological discoveries from Saudi Arabia. The objects range in date from pre-historic to the present, and include colossal figurative sculptures and funerary stele, intricate metalwork, and elegant calligraphies. Arabia was a crossroads of trade in the ancient world and a sacred centre since the coming of Islam. For these reasons, Arabia gave birth to civilisations and also became a host to diverse peoples and cultural influences. One can trace the lives of these people through these artefacts.

Aida Mahmudova founded YARAT, a not-for-profit organisation that supports and promotes Azerbaijani art, in 2011.

Aida Mahmudova founded YARAT, a not-for-profit organisation that supports and promotes Azerbaijani art, in 2011.

Grace Banks interviews YARAT’s Aida Mahmudova about contemporary art from Azerbaijan

YARAT are of course based in Baku; the city and its people are central to our activities. The concept of the show is to bring the culture of Azerbaijan side by side with those of its neighbours: Iran, Russia, and Georgia. Zaha Hadid’s [Heydar Aliyev] Center is such a striking addition to Baku’s architectural landscape and a fitting location for an exhibition of such scope and broad international appeal.

'Drying Time' (installation view; 2014), Yelena Popova

‘Drying Time’ (installation view; 2014), Yelena Popova Courtesy of the artist and Paradise Row Gallery

Yelena Popova ‘Drying Time’ at Paradise Row (Emily Burns)

Are these paintings, or semi-painted installations? Is the focus the invisibility of the paint or the visibility of the canvas? And are they abstract or figurative – portraits, even?