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August 4, 2006

{     Artist’s Choice: Perception Restrained at MOMA     }

The room has black walls and raw, pine, picnic style benches in 5 rows. 15 flat panel monitors light it from above. They each repeat a segment from various classic films. Jeremy Irons operating on himself, helicopters bombing the Vietnam countryside, Paul Morrisey's naked ass, heroin injected into an arm, a limp, vacant, mohawked Deniro gun in hand, lays on a dirty couch covered in blood. The light created by the flickering screens forms a muted synthetic daylight. Slits on 3 of the black walls beckon examination.

Walls normally pornographically open with art as Clitoris/Penis exposed on its flat white skin are now inverted. Here it becomes a prude's cross legged blush. Dirty voyeurs, we leer into her folds to see a Gober, a DeKooning, Picasso's Guitar collage, a Cezanne self-portrait, a Giacometti, a Pollack, a Warhol, and a Mondrian. In another opening an Arbus, several Sherman's, a Mapplethorpe, a Dykstra are barely visible. We witness sophisticated chairs, forks, speakers, tables, glasses, clocks, from a view slanting inward and down in a 3rd gap.

Exclusivity, THE hallmark of contemporary visual culture, is rarified beyond itself as walls personify a gallerina's icy snoot. Selectivity is generated through architectural construction. The methodology used to gaze/squint with walls (as opposed to at them) is the renowned architecture partnership of Herzog and De Meuron's take on Moma's Artist's Choice series. The first one given to architects, 'Perception Restrained' utilizes "the perception of art itself" as its subject matter.

MOMA's ideology and the fetishes used to justify it are thrust in the viewer's faces through its newly renovated space in a more polished, focused and blindingly forgettable way than has ever been the case. It is a white cube on dry ice gone MEGA. A walk through such expanse and light leaves the average viewer's mind washed, arms limp and back aching. To quote Herzog and De Meuron, "The problem facing the Museum is not a lack of first rate art but rather a lack of perceptive attention on the part of the museum visitors… The art is there, spread out in a panorama, professionally illuminated, impossible to overlook- but it is not seen."

Turning the viewing experience inside out is only one way they steer their "perception machine." Confirming, "an undeniable shift in imagery that has taken place in recent years..." Herzog and De Meuron have used MOMA's classic division of media (Architecture and Design; Drawings; Film and Media; Painting and Sculpture; Photography; Prints and Illustrated Books) to draw attention not only to the way these media are exhibited in the museum (and the art world) but also to the value the world at large attributes to them. Film shown over our heads claims the position of the art-chapel ceiling. We look on as to God. The rest is tucked away from easy view, difficult to penetrate. This brings up the important question of whether society has marginalized visual culture or whether it's practitioners have done so themselves.

In any case, architecture and the placement of the objects is made more important than the work itself. Herzog and De Meuron use this to make the transformative more important than the aesthetic. In doing so they use the Artists' Choice forum to deliver a discreet and unexpected remedy to the obscenity involved in MOMA's unbridled display of genius delivering the viewer back into the museum's collection with fresh eyes capable of seeing it with wonder once again.

     » MOMA
     » Herzog and De Meuron


Sorry, but what is kimerikas?


Posted by: sweeta-xo at March 27, 2008 5:55 AM

Sorry, but what is kimerikas?


Posted by: sweeta-xo at March 27, 2008 5:56 AM

Sorry, but what is kimerikas?


Posted by: sweeta-xo at March 27, 2008 5:56 AM
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