Unconventional Three-Dimensional

An exhibition exploring the hybridity of language in contemporary sculpture and unconventional approaches to disciplinarity and display


Fields of Knowledge
  • Aesthetics / Media
  • Curatorial practice

Organizing Institutions



Osvaldo Romberg


Universal Concepts Unlimited (UCU)

Opens to public



4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104


0% Formal - 100% Informal

Slought is pleased to present "Unconventional Three-Dimensional," featuring recent work by New York artists Michael Gitlin and Michael Zansky, on display at Slought from September 13-November 13, 2003. An opening reception for this exhibition will be held at Slought on September 13, 2003.

The crisis facing sculpture today as a discipline is no different than the crisis facing other domains in the visual arts. There is a tendency to avoid confronting this phenomenon through the creation of a hybrid language that is in fact difficult to categorize. This tendency to avoid naming ("a painting is a painting," or "a sculpture is a sculpture") creates an evasive illusion that pretends to resolve the problem of the discipline. This exhibition seeks to raise a series of related questions: How can one enrich the borders of a discipline? How can one make a sculpture today that addresses or denies light reflection, space modulation, and object-hood as it relates to the body, without making recourse to solutions typical of theatricality?

Curator Osvaldo Romberg offers the work of Michael Zansky and Michael Gitlin as one response. With a persistence and an obsession typical of the historical avant-garde, he argues that both of them share an unconventional aesthetic. Their work resists being categorized as either installation or object, and resists display in a gallery, a museum or even in a garden. Both artists, he suggests, create sculptures that involve the spectator without falling into the genre of installation, and without asking for physical participation from the public. Instead, he argues, Gitlin and Zansky maintain an irresistible and dynamic tension between object-hood, spatiality, and publicness. The unconventional quality of their activity is thus for Romberg their emphasis on transcending-including the past, pop iconography, even political agendas.

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Michael Gitlin is an artist whose work has been widely exhibited in venues including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, The Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg, Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn, Kunstforum, Munich, Schmela Gallery, Düsseldorf, Stampa Gallery, Basel, and Daniel Templon Gallery, Paris.

His work is in the permanent collection of the Guggenheim Museum, NY, Hirshhorn Museum, D.C., Ludwig Museum, Köln, Neues Museum Weserburg, Bremen, and Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich. He contributed work to SkulpturSein, curated by Harald Szeeman and Jurgen Harten (Kunsthalle, Dusseldorf, 1986), and Documenta 6 (Kassel, Germany, 1977), curated by Manfred Schneckenburger and Edward Fry.

Michael Zansky is an artist whose work has been recently on view at Exit Art, New York, the Aldrich Museum, Connecticut, and the Norton Museum of Art, Florida. He has also exhibited in New York at White Columns, The Drawing Center, White Box, and Barbara Gladstone Gallery. He will exhibit with Constance Dejong and Tony Oursler at the Rockland Foundation in November 2003, and is the subject of a forthcoming essay by Thomas McEvilley.

He has designed theater for the New York City Ballet, the Pennsylvania Ballet, the Pennsylvania Opera, and Philadanco. He is represented by Universal Concepts Unlimited, NY.