AUSTIN “Juan Muñoz. Last Conversation Piece” 1st – 30 november 2019. The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria.

At first glance, this cluster of figures appears caught in an impassioned exchange—three bodies huddle together, while two more hover on the outskirts. Upon closer inspection, their blank expressions betray nothing of the drama seeming to unfold. Full of uncanny contradictions, these quasi-human forms combine abstracted elements, including bag-like bodies and stylized faces, with lifelike gestures and a dramatic sense of movement.

As is typical in artist Juan Muñoz’s work, the space between the figures is as crucial to the overall effect as the sculpted forms. The scene appears theatrical in its arrangement, but unlike a stage production—in which spectators remain physically separate from the actors—here visitors may enter the conversation space, even as the sculptures’ stony faces pay them no mind. Entering this space, without possibility of engaging in the conversation, spectators may sense a subtle disconnect from reality, as if confronting the figures in a dream. (The Contemporary Austin press-release)

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The Contemporary Austin -Laguna Gloria 3809 WEST 35TH STREET AUSTIN, TEXAS 78703

IMAGE: Juan Muñoz, Last Conversation Piece, 1994–1995. Bronze. 66 1/2 x 244 3/4 x 321 1/8 inches. Installation view, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.. Collection of Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Museum Purchase, 95.5. Artwork © Juan Muñoz. Photograph by Cathy Carver.