Culture Rover

#139 - Seeing Is Disbelieving

Culture Rover wrote previously about The Uncertainty of Objects and Ideas: Recent Sculpture at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

Perhaps the most remarkable part of the show was a "Collection in Context" installation by sculptor Rachel Harrison. Playful, bemused, clever, and insightful, this "Collection in Context" was all about decontextualizing -- or better said, recontextualizing -- our expectations.

Satirical bourgeois statuettes from the nineteenth century, attributed to Daumier, stood gaping at a small John Chamberlain car-wreck piece from the twentieth century.

Here is a bit of what it looked like.

Harrison's wall text was even more ingenious:

"'The world is too noisy, we need to make mute things,' the late European artist Blinky Palermo told me when I met him just prior to his death in the Maldive Islands in 1977. My missionary parents absentmindedly allowed me to wander from the beach to the bar, where I encountered him slumped over a round table in a dark corner. He rose abruptly and knocked over a chair. 'Mister, are you blind?' I asked. 'No! I'm an artist.' From here we began.

I've had other imaginary conversations with artists I don't know, some of whose works are here in these rooms. Like fallen chairs, they tell me about gravity, the body, and space. ...So what does it mean, in ethical terms, to engage in the act of creation? What do the assembled figures attributed to Daumier, blindly staring into the next century at the John Chamberlain, expect from it anyway? Can they really see?"

- Rachel Harrison

14 January 2007

Back to #138

Go to #140