Wednesday, November 17, 2010
MoMa does the line dance
(Atsuko Tanaka, Drawing After Electric Dress, 1956)
My point is, the “On Line” show at MoMa – not to be confused with the “Out of Line” show at Slag this past May - is too linear. It’s mostly chronological and too jammed packed. As such it becomes a survey, and that does neither the art nor the viewer any good.
For example, you’ve got some great Picassos in the first room. But they’re literally stacked up over one another so you can’t focus on an individual piece; and then they’re placed next to – surprise – a few Braques! The room gets “wild” with the inclusion of a hanging projection of a whirling dancer. It’s a really nice film, but why so high? If I were installing it, I’d have put it playing on a wall alone. Or maybe next to ONE Picasso cubist collage. I think then you’d start to see line in a different way.
What we need in our MoMa show is some fresh installations of historical work, some air so that I can see, some focused thoughts so that my brother won’t get museum back, and some daring paring down on a (great) subject.
That said, there were some really good finds: a contemporary piece by Nina Canell looked positively exciting because it was precisely mixed-in. And then I enjoyed the mid 20th century work by Georges Vantongerloo and the drawings and video by the Gutai artist Atsuko Tanaka. To boot, it looked good next to a Rauschenberg tire drawing.
There were artists missing though: me.