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Anish Kapoor at MIT

Posted by Sebastian Smee  June 15, 2011 09:00 AM

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kapoor mit.jpgAnish Kapoor, one of the world's most renowned sculptors, was given an impressive one-room retrospective at the Institute of Contemporary Art in 2008 (It was the first show I reviewed for the Globe).

Kapoor crops up everywhere. In Venice, during this year's Biennale, he has work in the Prada Foundation's stunning hang of Miuccia Prada's collection at the Ca' Corner della Regina. And he also has an ambitious work, called "Ascension," in the church of San Giorgio.

Too ambitious, it seems, because when I saw it, it wasn't working. Smoke that should have been sucked up in a spiral by a massive vacuum pump beneath the cupola actually petered out a few feet off the ground in faith-shattering shreds of wispy gas.

Modesty is not what Kapoor is known for, but he tends to be at his best when resisting the lure of grandiosity. Those who want to see less self-intoxicated work by Kapoor can see a few examples locally. One of his large reflective sculptures, "Halo," is on long term loan to the Peabody Essex Museum. And another, this one, can be found in Frank Gehry's Ray and Maria Stata Center at MIT.

Okay. it's just a wobbly mirror. But I like it.

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About the author

The Boston Globe Journalist Series: Sebastian Smee
Sebastian Smee is the Globe's art critic, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for criticism. He joined the paper's staff from Sydney, where he served as the national art critic for The Australian. He can be reached at ssmee@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @SebastianSmee. Read Smee's full bio.

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