Saturday, November 19, 2011

An explosion of lights at SFMoMA.

Business trips can be tedious.  Mostly because you fly into a city, have a bunch of meetings and then you fly out.  I recently had to go to San Francisco with just such an itinerary.  But there was an installation at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art that I really wanted to see.  So I carved out just one short hour to pay a visit to the museum.  It was a classic example of the museum dash.

I went to see an installation in the atrium of SFMoMA.  I've come to love the impressive installations in the lobby of the museum.  I think my respect for the curators that choose the lobby installations started when SFMoMA let loose a common household electric fan dangling from the ceiling.  It was part of the museum's show featuring works by Olafur Eliasson.

Since then, the museum has been willing to go to extreme lengths to display brilliant works of art that dazzle visitors the moment they walk into the space.  None of those works is more dazzling than Exploded Views (2011, 2,880 LED lights and custom electronics) by Jim Campbell.

To prove my point I'm posting several videos and photos that will in no way demonstrate the magic of this work of art.  I'll start with two really cool videos taken from the museum's first landing, probably the best place to experience this mesmerizing work.

What these videos don't express is that this is not some strange video projected on an LED screen.  It's actually a cloud of LED lights suspended from the ceiling.  It's amazing how different this piece is in person than it is on video.  In hopes of demonstrating that difference, here is a video and some photos to show what the work is really like.

I love this work.  Maybe it's the contemporary dance elements of the video (or whatever you call the imagery). Maybe it's the hypnotizing quality of the piece.  Or maybe it's the spectacular technology.  Whatever it is, it's strangely pleasurable.  Thanks SFMoMA for another inspiring experience.

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