Sunday, March 30, 2008

Cai and Coffee

This afternoon I went to the Guggenheim to see the Cai Guo-Qiang retrospective "I Want to Believe." As I wandered up the spiral, my emotions alternated between amazement at the sheer spectacle -- ninety-nine stuffed wolves hurling themselves at a glass wall! nine cars perpetually exploding in midair! -- and amusement at the typical art-world gobbledygook that explicated it on the gallery cards. It wasn't until I saw these videos on the top floor that I too believed:

"Transient Rainbow," exploded over New York's East River in 2003:

"Black Rainbow: Explosion Project Valencia," 2005:

The Education Center at the museum also featured a wonderful little exhibit on Mr. Cai's "Everything Is Museum" project, where attendees were invited to propose their own unusual museums. If I could, I would take a Wal-Mart and declare it a museum for a day, with no form of economic activity to be done there for a 24-hour period. In fact, visitors wouldn't even be allowed to touch the things on the shelves; they could only look at them, the same way we look at art objects in museums, to consider their creation, provenance, aesthetics, and use. Mr. Clean may mean more than we think.

Then I went to dinner with friends and a really terrific concert, with a cafe au lait in between, which is why I am awake at 2:43 a.m. Nonetheless, a good day.


  1. I'm speechless regarding that wolf thing.

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