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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Please Touch

"Consider This", exhibition at LACMA. 2006
(photo Lori Lipsman)

As I read "Art as Combustion: Robert Smithson's "Spiral Jetty" Under Pressure - Part 1 and Part 2" by Kevin Freitas, I realize that one amazing thing about Smithson's "Spiral Jetty" is that one can actually WALK on it. Not only touch it but walk on it.

Yesterday I was reading "I'm just sayin'" by Edwin Decker, about the exhibition "Innnocence is Questionable", which was on display for a few months at the California Center for the Arts this year. He talks about how he stepped on Jean Lowe's carpet in the middle of the room and was immediately spotted by the guard.

The same thing happened to me when I visited the exhibition the day of the opening. There was a lot of people and every two minutes someone was stepping on that carpet and each time the guard was saying something, making the person feel very uncomfortable. "Argghh! I just stepped on art!".

The paintings on the wall and everything usually present in an exhibition must not be touched. Everything tells the people who come: this is precious, fragile. It creates a distance which bothers me. The sacralization bothers me. Going to see an exhibition with my children should always be a pleasure, but I am always worried that they will touch something they are, of course, not supposed to touch.

I remember going in August 2006 to "Consider This" at LACMA, stimulating exhibition designed by Barbara Kruger. What an interesting experience it was to be able to participate, to write, to touch...

I was very excited to have a personal show at the San Diego Art Institute. But when my paintings and digital pieces were there on the walls, I thought they were somehow disconnected from the public. I have to think very hard about what is next, about what will be the next solo show at the San Diego Art Institute. I certainly would like more participation from the public (grown ups and children). I certainly would like that people could touch the pieces and why not walk on a piece if there is one on the floor. And why not making art on the spot, working as the people walk around. I think I would like that. I have to find a way.


Tobermory said...

This is one of the reasons I love Niki de Saint Phalle's sculptures so much. They're super beautiful, of course, but not only can you touch them, kids can play on them!

Michele Guieu said...

You're right, but that is usually when the sculptures are outside, like the Nikkigator next to the Mingei or the Magical Circle in Kit Carson Park (Escondido).

As soon as the sculptures are displayed inside, in a museum, that's it, you cannot touch them anymore. The last time I saw an exhibition of Nikki de St Phalle it was at the California Center for the Arts, in Escondido, a few months ago, and we could not touch anything - I was with the boys. I understand, but still: it was annoying.

But I remember something: years ago, I saw an exhibition of her collaborative work with Jean Tinguely at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. It was possible to touch all the machines and I remember I could not believe we could actually touch everything. I think it was the first time ever I could touch art pieces in the Centre Pompidou. The children in the museum were in heaven!

We should go together to the Magical Circle!

Ricardo said...

I very much appreciate this idea of "interactive" of the recent installations i loved was Denise Strohm's "hope" mailbox i which the any one could write a letter about hope and put it in the mailbox for anyone to read...she provided pencil and paper...I very much enjoyed participaing in this..i noticed alot of kids did as well.