In Ballast & Barricades Michelle Lopez employs a formal, fragmented architectural language to critique symbols of nationalism, power, and consumption. Known for her sculptural works that recast histories of minimalism and everyday objects through a feminist lens, in this exhibition Lopez brings together a selection of recent sculptures alongside a monumental, site-specific installation that creates a suspended cityscape reduced to rubble. Here, blockades, borders, flags, and natural elements bleed together while remnants of construction sites and scaffolding create a delicate system of counterweights and counterbalances—all meticulously crafted by hand. For Lopez, this sculptural terrain is suggestive of an ongoing history of bodies and violence in the absence of figuration. It is an urban landscape fabricated out of the material remains of crisis, teetering on the brink of collapse.
— Alex Klein, Dorothy and Stephen R. Weber (CHE’60) Curator
Michelle Lopez: Ballast & Barricades is organized by Alex Klein, Dorothy and Stephen R. Weber (CHE’60) Curator. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated publication.
Michelle Lopez (b. 1970; lives Philadelphia) has been included in solo and group exhibitions at venues including the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT; LAXART, Los Angeles; PS1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, NY; the Public Art Fund, Metrotech Center, NY; and the Orange County Museum of Art, Santa Ana, CA. Formerly a faculty member at Yale School of Art, she now heads the Sculpture Division at the Fine Arts Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Stuart Weitzman School of Design. In 2019 she was a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship.
In Conversation: Michelle Lopez and Jenn Joy
In the lead-up to Ballast & Barricades, Researcher and Senior Critic in Sculpture at Yale School of Art Jenn Joy talked with Michelle Lopez about how her “work forces a negotiation of sculpture as an aperture for perception, asking how histories sediment in objects and how we might understand something of immateriality through surface tension”.
Read the full conversation here.
Programming support for Michelle Lopez: Ballast & Barricades has been provided by the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation and the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation, and support for the catalogue publication has been provided by the Daniel W. Dietrich II Foundation. Additional support has been provided by Linda & Jeffrey Chodorow, Carol & John Finley, Kirk Kirkpatrick, Marjorie & Michael Levine, Amanda & Andrew Megibow, B.Z. & Michael Schwartz, Meredith & Bryan Verona, and by Caroline & Daniel Werther.