The guts of a gallery

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Timothy Hamilton, Jarvis Jahner, Courtney Kemp, Ben Lenoir, Katherine Spinella, Michael Stephen

Once upon a time not too long ago, I was at the Dallas MOA and the Nasher Sculpture Center (as recounted in my post on the GIANT FORK ATTACK). My hyperactive cousin and I explored every corner of the sculpture center except for the basement because they were filling it with balloons. It was an interactive art piece that would have been glorious to play in, but it opened the next week. Very sad.

I was thinking about interactive modern art yesterday because I read Michael Fried’s “Art and Objecthood.” The famous essay critiques literalist (i.e. minimalist) art for being too much like theater.

If the whole point of the piece is that you yourself are playing with the balloons, shouldn’t you consider the balloons and yourself as “characters” in a theater piece? “That is not visual art,” says Fried huffily.

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Not long after I read the essay, I ran into this piece that was literally overflowing from the the Laverne Krause Gallery.

Right when I saw the strange intestines bursting from the doorway, I rushed toward them. I thought it was an entire room filled with pillowy fabric. Ever since I saw the half-finished balloon room, I’ve been dreaming of walk-in art pieces.

Several attempts at penetration yielded no results, so I resigned myself to staring at the wonderfully creepy tentacles hanging from the fabric. Around the corner, fleshy cloth fills the windows.

The artists’ statement says the piece is pointing out that a gallery is a sort of living organism, but I agree with one of the notes in the guest book next to the door: “cop out!”

A gallery might be a living organism of sorts, but it’s an organism in which you can immerse yourself. I want to crawl through some intestines!

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