If you are a “tourist” I would stay away from this exhibit, I don’t think you will feel like you got your money’s worth (unless you are a huge Catherine Opie fan, there is also a lot of great work by her on display).  However, the focus of theanyspacewhatever, is a collection of works by artists who “claimed the exhibition as their medium. [..] they eschewed the individual object in favor of the exhibition environment […] ever expanding its physical and temporal parameters.” The artists are Angela Bulloch, Maurizio Cattelan, Liam Gillick, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Douglas Gordon, Carsten Höller, Pierre Huyghe, Jorge Pardo, Philippe Parreno, and Rirkrit Tiravanija.

The museum is mostly pervaded by emptiness and a kind of subdued dusk almost.  There are many, many empty spaces, literally void corners.  Here and there in different fonts, on walls, at different heights are words, sentences and fragments written, printed and carved.  “If only you were hot or cold. But you are neither hot or cold. I am going to vomit you out of my mouth,” is just one example.  There is a section that is a sound installation, there is section that diverts your normal traversal of the spiral ramp, in the middle under a black sign that says “Deceptionist at Lunch,” you can even get an espresso. (is this part a performance? I wonder.) On the ground floor Pinocchio is laying face down in a lit pool of water, in another spot the floor says in giant black lettering “Are We Evil.”

None of the pieces on their own are very striking, “bad art” even, but for me the whole was more than the sum of it’s parts.  Just like when they had a Mathew Barney exhibit here, I felt like I entered another world, that one filled with baroque opulence, this one was filled with minimal weirdnesses.  A darkened hushed world, a minimal artist carnival, right on the brink of dread, but for now hovering in dreamlike insanity and surrealism full of baffling yet familiar voids.

For me, this was one of the more successful shows I’ve seen at the Guggenheim. That Barney exhibit would be my other front runner. But that was years ago. Maybe I’m just a sucker for site-specific installation art. [I never saw the Cai Guo-Qiang show here, but I did see his work when he was at MassMoCA, so I can imagine it here].

October 24, 2008–January 7, 2009
Guggenheim Museum, New York
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