“Counter Forms,” a beautifully thought out and lovingly installed show curated by Elena Filipovic, Senior Curator at WIELS Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels, is currently on view in New York at Andrea Rosen Gallery.
The exhibit brings together historically important work, primarily small sculptures, dating to the 1960s and 70s from four artists, Tetsumi Kudo (1935-1990), Alina Szapocznikow (1926-1973), Paul Thek (1933-1988) and Hannah Wilke (1940-1993).
The tag, “historically important,” typically indicates that to get interpretive mileage out of the show you will need a hefty dose of background — biographical and art historical. What makes this show remarkable is that each artwork on display while indeed historically important is still able to command attention and speak for itself, background knowledge or not. That said, to spend some time and learn about each of the exhibited artists only serves to make the work all the more hard-hitting (Szapocznikow survived Nazi ghettos and concentration camps, being one example).