Roberta Smith wuz here

That’s right, the Great Dame of the New York Times herself ventured up to Maine to check out my new museum home. I thought her review was pretty great, and aligned nicely with some of what I said (it always feels good to have your impressions and opinions validated by professionals!). My coworkers thought she could have been more enthusiastic. Still, it’s great exposure, and the show is already doing very well. Just happy to be on the team!

Quick Follow-up

I just wanted to address a point toward the end of the article I just posted about Tatzu Nishu’s living room around the statue in Columbus Circle. One board member of an Italian-American cultural committee criticized

the Bloomberg administration’s silly revisionism when it comes to public spaces.

“The plans seem to hide the Columbus statue for no reason whatsoever,” he said.

First of all, I love that they called it “silly revisionism.” Second, I hate to use the word philistine, because it makes me sound like a snob, but to me this does seem like a failure to see the ways that art can enchant or re-enchant what was already there, as the Gates did to Central Park, and Olafur Eliasson’s waterfalls did to lower Manhattan/Brooklyn/Staten Island.

This is a bit like anger at displays of contemporary art, like Takashi Murakami, Jeff Koons, and now Joana Vasconcelos, at Versailles, though that frustration makes a bit more sense. As my museum colleagues who are more interested in history than art pointed out, they went to Versailles, perhaps only once in their lives, for the historical experience, only to find contemporary art in the way. To them, I counter with the fact that, unfortunately, Versailles sold most of its historic furniture. Most rooms are unfurnished, they are not like many other historic houses that are furnished and decorated so as to make it like you are stepping back in time.

I may have the opposite bias, as a contemporary art fan, but I think Versailles does an excellent job placing these large-scale contemporary works in ways that enhance both the setting and the art. I love how the baroque-ness of Murakami’s work is brought out by the baroque ceiling above it. As the first female artist to exhibit there, Vasconelos’ high-heeled shoes made of pots point to the history of the women at Versailles as well as before or since–the enforced confluence of glamor, pain, and domesticity.

Murakami at Versailles

Vasconcelos at Versailles

Confessions of a Failed Blogger

Sorry once again for the radio silence – I have been in the process of preparing to move to Maine, moving to Maine, and setting up my apartment and life in Maine, which has kept me quite busy, and may still for awhile (sooooo much Ikea furniture to build!). You can look forward, eventually (but please don’t hold your breath), to some exhibition reviews I have backlogged notes on – Yayoi Kusama at the Whitney, the Ancient Terracotta Warriors of China, may still write about the Buffalo Avant-Garde show, though that’s ancient history by now, and my book review of MetaMaus. Still have to go to Boetti at MoMA, which I will at some point (I believe I have til October, and I will be back in New York in 2 weekends). After all that, the blog might shape-shift a bit – I won’t be in New York and will have less access to that scene. Instead, I will hopefully take up more recreational museum and curatorial reading (like this), and, also hopefully, be making some art of my own! (once I set up my guest bedroom/office/studio – gotta love Maine real estate prices!)

In the meantime, you can read about this New York public art project, along the lines of the Gates and the waterfalls – spectacles that call attention to major New York landmarks and are likely to attract many local and non-local visitors. These things always seem too-showboat-y when you hear about them, but I think they often make a lovely and enchanting experience when you see them for yourself. This one actually sounds pretty charming, if you can get in. They’re trying to avoid long lines by using timed tickets–we’ll see how it goes.

See next post for further thoughts…

More posts, soon, promise! And a little taste.

I know I have been a delinquent blogger. I have many new posts in the works, and will have much more time to work on them in the next few days/week. In the meantime, life is happening. More on that soon, too!

So here’s a little taste, an article that my parents alerted me to about curating as a growing, international profession. I’ve only just read it, and don’t have much to comment on–there’s nothing extremely revelatory about it, from my perspective. I guess I feel about it the way I felt years ago about New York Times “exposés” about teenage behavior, like “hook-up culture”–tell me something I don’t know! Coming from the group on which they’re reporting, it hardly seems newsworthy; if you wanted to know, you coulda just asked me!

Of course people from outside said group would not feel this way–I know my perspective is privileged. Nonetheless, the article doesn’t seem to probe very deeply or provide much insight, though of course to do so would have to be a much more extended research project. The article can’t even really settle on its focus: is it about how more and more people are choosing curator as a profession? (if so, where are the statistics to back this up?) Is it about how much more international curating is, either because of how much curators have to travel, or the diversity of places that curators come from, places that have now become more relevant to the global contemporary art world? (I wrote a bit about this in a previous post.) Is it just about this one particular curator’s training program/conference, or the growing popularity of events like it? The article touches on all these things briefly without expanding on their connections or significances.

So I guess I had something to say about the article after all! Posting about it helped me process my thoughts on it–which is really the point of all this!

What do you think?