Friday, March 23, 2012

Seat Backs and Tray Tables/Absentee Landlord/Minneapolis

"Seat backs and tray tables up/Stow your newspapers and cups/we're about to touch down/Midwestern town through the haze" - Fountains of Wayne, Seatbacks and Tray Tables

"Andrew fox...paging Andrew Fox. Please proceed to your nearest airport...............assistance telephone" -- A public address announcement.

I'm sitting. At Gate E7. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, waiting to fly back to my Midwestern town. Last night I didn't get to my hotel -- the Minneapolis Hilton this time -- until about 7:45. Although right across the intersection from Orchestra Hall, with the Minnesota Orchestra show starting at 8, me having not yet purchased a ticket and feeling a bit more tired than motivated to hear classical I decided to sleep instead.

This morning I walked Nicolett Mall (home to Target's flagship store and headquarters, as well as the corner where Mary Tyler Moore threw off her hat for the opening credits of the eponymous '70s television show before strolling through Loring Park (much smaller but similar in feel to New York's Central Park) and walking across the bridge to the Walker Art Center.

Walker is one of my favorite contemporary museums, and not only because my membership level at the Cleveland Museum of Art allows recipricol membership access to Walker at no charge -- but beause it seems like the galleries are always eveolving and there's just enough whimsy to let you let your hair down.

On this visit, I found myself laughing out loud with Absentee Landlord whos exhibition introduction (by curator John Waters) by personification of the collection begs

"Ok, look out you current tenant artworks, there's a new absentee landlord in town, me. And I'm not going for rent control. Sure, the trustees left a security deposit of the permanent collection, but I want to clean house, reward troublemakers and invite crashers.

Aren't all curators landlords who allow fine art to live together in a sublet for a while and be uneasy roommates? Or is it closer to a dictatorship where I can order eviction by deaccession if they talk back, balk at my orders or fail to entice enough public comment?

Are prints, sculptures, painting and photographs relieved to be in a museum storage where they don't have to shine "art-off" and risk exposure to light? Or are they happy when they have to "work"? Get along with each other in public? Hear sometimes stupid comments from hostile museum going amateurs? Publicly humiliate themselves by being forced to live up to their auction prices?"
He continues rather amusingly -- and provocatively here. I also love his closing "Maybe the entire museum going experience in need of an intervention? Why is there no art in the parking lot? Wouldn't a symphony of car crash sound effects remind visitors not to drink too much and drive home after an opening? And why shouldn't the public know how much this show cost? Why not display all of the expense receipts (shipping, insurance, construction) in a vitrine like artistic ephemera and let the museum-goers snoop..."

And the show certainly elicits a certain amount of thought.

But that's certainly not all that's eye catching or provocative in the galleries -- a little bit of fun were a pair of miniature functioning elevators, by Maurizio Cattelan (Rachel will remember he as the artist we saw at the Guggenheim -- also with a miniature elevator, though in a far stranger setting and whole) as well as a giant folding card table and matching chairs (by giant I mean "I'm pretty sure they had to fold the table to fit it in the freight elevator and there's video of them using a scissor lift during the installation")

In "Life like" there's art imitating life, including an extremely life-like Janitor by Duane Hanson, on loan from the Milwaukee Art Museum but reminded me immediately of the Guard in Nelson-Atkin's collection (though so far I haven't been able to determine if they are both works by the same artist)

Unfortunately right around the same time I finished perusing Walker's galleries, the real world (i.e. my clients) surfaced and I found it necessary to return to the hotel business center post-haste where I remained until I drove to the airport.

There's always next time...


No comments:

Post a Comment