Saturday, December 5, 2009

my museum experience today...

i was on my way to school to work on my drawings and decided to walk through the modern wing of the museum on my way (since i can whenever i want, i'm spoiled i know!). there are many many things in there that i like to look at, like that Joan Mitchell painting i referenced before, but there is a new exhibit in one of the main floor galleries that i really like quite a bit: it is an installation (by an Italian artist named Monica Bonvicini) called "Light Me Black". it consists of three elements: there are three paintings that are made of laminated safety glass and black enamel (these are rather simple paintings of some of her earlier work, each consists of a single word "built" "desire" and "rime" / they are each 4.5x5 feet), the second element is a sculpture hanging from the ceiling that is made of a large number of fluorescent light fixtures all attatched to eachother by a metal armature and hanging from burly chains all of the lights are lit and put out a tremendous amount of light as well as heat if you stand close enough (it is enough light to light the entire gallery which is about 50x50 feet), the third and (to me) most important part is an installation on the floor of insulation (like the sheets of insulation that would be in a wall) and sheets of drywall (the foam is on the floor first and then layered over with drywall). here are a couple pictures of similar work, the light piece in the museum is much larger and impressive than this image

it is kind of hard to see but the drywall on the floor has holes in it that are broken, this is a large part of the exhibit. it is designed so that the viewer can walk through the space and continue to erode the surface of the fabricated floor. the holes get bigger and bigger as people experience the show, it is really fun to experience, i have walked through many times already (it is especially fun when people are walking through that don't realize that they are supposed to walk through the holes and destroy the floor more. i was walking through one day and it was terribly quiet in the gallery with a few viewers mulling around, i was crunching through the broken drywall and happened to step onto a really weak spot and there was a really loud crack sound that echoed through the room! it was really funny!). so today i figured i would walk through again and crunch up a little more drywall. when i stepped into the gallery i walked straight into one of the broken area and was immediately reprimanded by the guard in the gallery. she told me that i wasn't allowed to walk on the broken parts... i went to the information desk and asked what was going on, the woman behind the desk went and talked to the guard and then to her superior on the phone and it is true that i'm not allowed to walk through the broken parts and niether is anyone else!!!! some nonsense about it being a liability for the museum. i was very frustrated by this whole situation and so i made a written complaint. if they don't change the rule about how that artwork is experienced back to how it was intended by the artist i am going to do more than just complain, i am contemplating contacting the artist to see if she knows what is going on here (if it was mine, i really think that i would take down the work because it isn't meant to be experienced the way that it is, it would be like puting a painting on the floor that was made to hang on the wall! it just isn't what the artist intended!). hmmmm. okay, it feels good to rant a little bit. i would love to know what any of you who are reading think about this?


Anonymous said...

I would never have imagined that that was part of the art experience. You know, I am kind of an abide by the rules kind of person - at least on things I know nothing about.=) Keep on venting! Lisa

Tom Stephens said...


Nice blog-Keep up the good work! Your painterly technique combined with the use of quasi-architectural imagery is working.

Also, the studio looks very functional.

Good luck with your application. Keep us informed.