This show is actually pretty traditional in its presentation, but–in relation to our recent discussions in class regarding technology and all the trimmings in museum and gallery exhibits–it was totally refreshing to see a very no frills type exhibition. Pettibon’s show at David Zwirner feels very D.I.Y. and rough around the edges, but aside from, say, the lighting, the work hold up on its own. In the Chelsea world of high-tech video installations and the inevitable gadgetry involved, this show stands out in its simplicity. Plus, the works themselves are gorgeous and pretty funny. Also, be sure to check out the Luc Tuymans show, which is in another part of the space.
Say what you will about Yoko Ono (I happen to love her).
The more I think about how there are more museums than ever, and less objects in these museums than ever; I begin to do a run through in my head of exhibitions with very few objects and how, subjectively, successful I find them. Probably the most recent [basically] non-object piece/exhibit I’ve seen is Ono’s “Voice Piece for Soprano” at MoMA. The piece is made of a large empty room, very little directional wall text, a microphone on a stand in the center of the room which is flanked by two speakers, and you–the participant. I spent almost two hours on a Saturday sitting in front of the piece; watching countless elderly women hobble up to the mic and scream at the top of their lungs. It was really intense. I keep thinking about this piece in relation to the reading from last week, which explained the various reasons people choose to participate or not to participate. My thought is that Ono’s piece offers an ideal model for a participatory piece because it is straightforward. “Scream“. It is easy to do, and not screaming makes you look like a weirdo. Everyone is doing it (perhaps participatory museums should rely more on peer pressure). Also, it feels amazing to get to scream at the top of your lungs.
Illustration: Brett Affrunti
I don’t know how many people saw this Tino Seghal exhibition last spring at the Guggenheim. I think it’s a good example (based on my humble understanding) of where [Art] museums and exhibitions are/could be headed. I was able to attend, and able to be a part of the performance, but what was most funny was the look on tourists’ faces as they entered the museum looking around for art objects. It was pretty clear they had little to no idea that they were a part of the exhibition.