Australian-born Ron Mueck's self-titled show at the Brooklyn Museum has seemingly been on everyone's mind (and in Time Out NY) for the past few weeks. I had to work through a major hangover to go on Sunday when I found out it was the last day it would be on view, and it was definitely worth it. Very rarely do I see a show I dislike, but I also rarely see a show that inspires me as much. Mueck's sculptures are all either much larger than life, or very small; what they all have in common is their exquisite details. Each statue looks as though it might shift, breathe, pounce at any moment. Every hair, eyelash, even the creases on elbows and knees are amazingly more than life-like; if it was not for their size, anyone would mistake one of Mueck's pieces for a real-life human being. Please note the size of the woman in the chair next to the work featured above, "In Bed". She is dwarfed by the head alone.
The artist honed his skill during his years working in puppetry and special effects in film and television. Generally using fiberglass and silicon, Mueck sculpts each piece alone, only employing assistance in the largest pieces. He always creates the eyes himself, which I find to be touching; each piece seems to gaze almost accusingly at the viewer, as though to wonder why they are being studied in such vulnerable poses. This is Mueck's last show before the collection moves on to Ottawa, Canada, so hopefully whoever wanted to go went already. If you didn't see the show, there is a video which details how the works are made is up on blip.tv. This video was filmed during the artist's residency at the National Gallery in London. While it cannot compare with seeing it live, it is always amazing to see an artist ply their craft.
If you don't have a high-speed internet connection, there is a short excerpt from the video on the Brooklyn Museum's website.