Monday, June 16, 2008

Standards slide

How often do you hear the question: what would it take to make an art work that shocked the audience of a contemporary art museum? The pile of shit has been done, so has the empty room and the slide. How about a beautifully finished, modernist-styled sculpture that encourages kids to climb over it and people to use it as a place to put their bags? Had us going for a few moments at Mies Van der Rohe’s masterpiece Neue Nationalgalerie. We dealt with the backpacks propped around the base as a riff on modernist control freaks, but we were taken aback when a father helped his kid use the yellow slopes of Gabriel Kuri’s sculptures as a slide. Until we noticed a guard smiling benevolently. Later we found out that all this was pretty much what Kuri intended. But kids, don’t try this on a Donald Judd.