Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Is it just me, or is the Guggenheim totally OK with letting artists mess up the museum? Remember when Matthew Barney scaled the walls while Richard Serra ladled molten petroleum jelly into a gutter that ran down the entire length of the spiral walkway.

And then on my most recent visit, there was an untitled work by Kitty Kraus. It was made from, and I quote, “Ice, ink, light fixture, cable, and light bulb, dimensions variable.” Basically, Kraus freezes a light bulb attached to cord in a block of ice and ink. (There's got to be some risk of electrical shock, right?) Then, she places the block in the middle of a gallery, plugs it in, a lets the whole mess melt. The result, a big giant black mark on those beautiful Guggenheim terrazzo floors. I hope it doesn’t stain.

And there was one other piece of art. Behind the inkcicle was a nearly invisible glass work hanging high on the wall. But don’t get anywhere near it. The gallery attendant stopped me well short saying, “We’re afraid it might fall on someone.”

Oh don’t ask what it means. Who cares? I just love messy, dangerous museum visits.

Both photos: Kitty Kraus
Untitled, 2009
Ice, ink, light fixture, cable, and lightbulb, dimensions variable
Courtesy Galerie Neu, Berlin, and the artist
Installation view, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2009
Photo: David Heald © The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York

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