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The larger-than-life sculptures and stranger-than-fiction journey of Thomas Houseago

January 2, 2011 |  7:00 am

Houseago

Thomas Houseago, who is fast becoming known for large, monstrous sculptures that exaggerate both the strength and frailty of the human form, has some serious art-world fans.

Paul Schimmel, the chief curator at MOCA, says Houseago's work "has never been better than it is today. And it's never been more ambitious than it is today."

Francois Pinault, the French billionaire art collector, has just commissioned him to do a monumental bronze for his Palazzo Grassi on the Grand Canal in Venice, to be installed outside before this year's Venice Biennale.

Sarah Watson, the director of L&M Arts in Venice (where Houseago has a show opening Jan. 22), said that "I've worked with young artists a long time, and I haven't seen anything like this." She calls it "a perfect storm of curatorial and collector interest."

But Houseago, who moved to Los Angeles in 2003, is visibly uncomfortable with the role of hot young artist. "I'm being viewed as a sudden success. But I'm 38 -- I left art school 14 years ago, and I'm from the [bowels] of the world, the north of England," he said, using a more vulgar term for it. "My journey has been long and complicated."

Click here for the full Arts & Books story on Houseago's sculpture, and his improbable journey from Leeds to Los Angeles.

-- Jori Finkel
www.twitter.com/jorifinkel

Photo: Thomas Houseago's studio in Frogtown, near the Los Angeles River. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

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