Saturday, November 10, 2007

So Much To See

Me and my Sac State homies went to the SFMOMA yesterday for the Olafur Eliasson exhibit. While I was mildly disappointed by Olafur's offerings the rest of what was on display was pretty dazzling and well worth a trip to the bay.

Douglas Gordon, Self-portrait as Kurt Cobain, as Andy Warhol, as Myra Hindley, as Marilyn Monroe [detail], 1996, C-print 30 1/2 x 30 1/2 inches (77.5 x 77.5 cm), Edition 4/11,

One of my favorites was Douglas Gordon's, Pretty much every film and video work from about 1992 until now. To be seen on monitors, some with headphones, others run silently, and all simultaneously (installation view), 1992-present. Gordon's work is some that I had heard about for awhile but never actually seen until now. The presentation is fantastic with t.v.'s stacked floor to ceiling showing all of his various film works from the past 15 years. Some of the screens displayed the same films but at different stages creating this dialogue between various works that was really engrossing. This concept played itself out in a single work entitled Through the Looking Glass, which depicts the famous "are you talking to me?" scene from Taxi Driver in two simultaneous clips that are synched up to make it appear as though there are twin De Niro's in dialogue with one another. Man! That was confusing to try and explain.

The Joseph Cornell show was fabulous too and offered an insight into the artist I hadn't been privy to before. I had only seen the assemblage works in the past and didn't realize the depth of his explorations, for instance there are those who believe him to be one of the first avant garde film makers.

The Jeff Wall show is pretty great too. Wall's work doesn't require a whole lot of explanation so I'll just say that this show is a good opportunity to see just about everyone of Wall's classics from the past 3 or so decades.

Your mobile expectations: BMW H2R project, 2007

As for Eliasson... the work seemed like a bizarre amalgamation of art museum meets discovery science center. The ice car was interesting but not mind blowing. My folks happened to show up at the show as they were staying in the city this past week and when my dad asked me why Eliasson encased a BMW in ice I really didn't have an answer for him. While that's not surprising as some work takes a lot of thought to understand or appreciate, I have to admit that after considerable thought I still don't know why it's that great. The sensation of the cold room was interesting but I didn't need the car for that, I could have been looking at anything in a 9 degree room really. I suppose the ice car is important just for the very fact that it exists? Don't ask me.

Personally, I think that Eliasson's earlier experiments were more exciting, the Turbine Hall installation most specifically.

Lastly, if you're in the area, Samovar, the tea room that overlooks the Yerba Buena gardens is a great place to relax and recover from gallery fatigue. Although, one must be careful as you might relax too long and miss the Yerba Buena Center before it closes thus failing to complete the museum requirement for your art 206 class:(

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