Site Meter Peculiar Susceptibility: to stand on something vaguely sinister

Saturday, December 22, 2007

to stand on something vaguely sinister

Like, I imagine, any person that holds a degree in Art History, I go to museums when I travel. I've found that the larger the museum, the more alarmed people seem to be when they watch me walk across a Carl Andre. I've made a ritual of it. I search out the modern/contemporary wing and I walk across the tiles. I'm sure other people must do it (do you?), I've just never seen it.

Maybe one of these days, I'll curl up in a ball atop one.

Each time, this act produces a knot at the back of my throat. Each time, I end up crying later in the day. I think it has something to do with the tension between minimalism and post-minimalism. It has something to do with Ana Mendieta, whose work I love and who is conspicuously absent from many of these museums. (The week she died, protesters held banners demanding "Where is Ana Mendieta?") And it has something to do with museums, in general, those odd refactories of cultural memory.

The most recent time, I was in Chicago, at the Art Institute. I was listening, on repeat, to Westfall, by Okkervil River.



betsy q. bramble said...

Not only did I touch a LOT of art work, I also took pictures with my cell phone. I lose all inhibitions in a museum apparently. I'm crazy. Watch out.

Jessica said...

I didn't know you could walk across them! I will make a point of it now. I get a big kick out of walking through Fred Sandback's sculpture at Dia:Beacon.

Meghan Maguire Dahn said...

Well - I don't think anyone ever specifically told me that I could, but guards have seen me do it and they never stop me.

It's interesting, though, that museums have this kind of set of behaviors that we've internalized.

Thanks for reading, Jessica!

Sam McKinniss said...

Fuck Carl Andre! Let's go to those stupid rocks downtown and decorate them. I have a theory about public sculpture which is if the public is compelled to decorate/"enhance" the work, then the work is totally impotent and worthless. I like West Hartford's cows with wreaths around their necks for instance. I think we should find a good way to makeover and emasculate those rocks.
One time I walked through a Walter De Maria piece at Dia:Beacon and someone yelled at me.

Meghan Maguire Dahn said...

How many of those damned rocks are there? What if we did flower of the month paintings on them? Or maybe portraits of soap opera stars who are crying. Or something else really gauche. Let's think up some gauche themes.

In other news, I just bought a lime green and mauve paisley pashmina.