As the price of artwork by controversial artists like Damien Hirst and Richard Prince have plummeted in the play-it-safe art market bust of 2008-2009, there's something to be said for artwork that impresses for its sheer scale. If these four installations are any indication, perhaps the next boom cycle will prove a heydey for large-scale art.
Adding irreverence to an inflated scale is Tristin Lowe, whose 52-foot felt whale is on display at The Fabric Workshop in Philly. Christened Mocha Dick with a nod to Melville and the Mocha Islands, the fabric whale—with inflatable innards, barnacles, and wrinkles—dwarfs everything else in the room.
Turner Prize winner Anish Kapoor is doing his usual at the Royal Academy of Arts in London: mirrored-polished stainless steel sculptures, shaped into sheets and convex surfaces. Neat, yes, but it's his installation outside the museum that has the public agog. The man who brought us The Bean in Chicago's Millennium Park has arranged 76 shiny orbs in a 50-foot column that bubbles up to the same height of the classical architecture in the Academy's courtyard.
It must be Maya Lin month in New York, as the architect launches new work at Pace Wildenstein in addition to an entire museum downtown plus an exhibition at Storm King. Lin is no joke when it comes to large-scale work—you may remember a little brouhaha over a certain veteran's memorial in DC. Pace Wildenstein has selections for her series Systematic Landscapes, the biggest of which is 1900 square feet of sloping topography recreated with 50,000 pieces of sustainable wood two-by-fours.
Manhattan's Madison Square Park has been the site of some major public works over the years (Roxy Paine's silver trees graced the interior park in 2008) and Mel Kendrick's Markers series is another variation on a massively scaled theme. Kendrick has worked in sculpture since the mid-70s, and the new works - five giant totems in cast stone, painted in black and white stripes—hover over visitors and mimic the surrounding skyline.