Art21 Extended Play

Arlene Shechet Sculpts Time

Arlene Shechet arranging plaster sculptures in her New York City studio. Production still from the series ART21 "Exclusive". © ART21, Inc. 2015. Cinematography: Rafael Salazar.

Arlene Shechet arranging plaster sculptures in her New York City studio. Production still from the series ART21 Exclusive. © ART21, Inc. 2015. Cinematography: Rafael Salazar.

“Whatever time I have is exactly the time that I need.” — Arlene Shechet

In the second of two new ART21 Exclusive episodes featuring Arlene Shechet, the artist discusses a series of plaster sculptures that she created over the course of six years in the mid-1990s, following the death of a close friend. The artist developed a greater appreciation of time following the experience. “To honor Carol, I basically threw out everything in my studio and I started anew,” says Shechet. She began sculpting in plaster, a material with which she had previously worked, but had not valued in the same way. “Every single second as it’s drying, it changes,” says Shechet, who sculpted without an armature. “Whatever time—be it an hour or be it five hours—I would make a piece out of that material that suddenly became just the right thing.” Though she eventually recognized the sculptures to resemble Buddhist iconography, Shechet initially intended to create figures that could remind her of the fragility of life. An installation of the sculptures, which reflects how she lives with them in her studio, is shown at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston as part of Shechet’s twenty-year survey, All at Once.

CREDITS: Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Ian Forster & Susan Sollins. Camera: Ian Forster, Rafael Salazar & Joel Shapiro. Sound: Roger Phenix & Ava Wiland. Editor: Morgan Riles. Artwork Courtesy: Arlene Shechet & Sikkema Jenkins & Co. Archival Images Courtesy: Arlene Shechet. Special Thanks: ICA Boston. Theme Music: Peter Foley.

ART21 Exclusive is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; 21c Museum Hotel, and by individual contributors.

 

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