BOMB in the Building

BOMB in the building (What we did last weekend edition)

MoMA takes over Brooklyn's Atlantic/Pacific subway station with reproductions from the permanent collection. This shot taken by Bradly Brown on Feb. 09, mid installation.

MoMA takes over Brooklyn's Atlantic/Pacific subway station with reproductions from the permanent collection. This shot taken by Bradly Brown on Feb. 09, mid installation.

Last weekend the BOMB folks cut a swath through the NYC cultural scene, so we thought we would share a sampling of what we found.

We started off at Terminal 5 for the Black Keys show.  None of our faces were intact by the end of the night.  For a two piece band the Keys produce an enormous and mind boggling amount of sound.  Every once in a while its nice to escape into some good old fashioned American blues rock. (Really tried to find a good interview with them, but they seem to be resistant to the form, so went with this interview they did with GZA)

Saturday night we saw the insanely young and wildly talented Beirut at Brooklyn Academy of Music.  They’re amazing, but you have to think this performance would have killed if place in Vienna during the 17th Century.

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Saturday afternoon we went to the Lower East Side, stopping in at galleries along our walk.  It was a pretty stark contrast to the Chelsea trudge, and refreshing to pass things other than galleries along the way (and even places to go to the bathroom!).

Highlights included:

Finally, since the Atlantic-Pacific subway stop is right next door to us, we’ve been thinking a lot about the MOMA installation there.  Our first impression was that we loved the idea of blanketing this large public space in art, but didn’t think the show in the end was ambitious enough (and a little awkwardly curated).

Showing only reproductions of works makes us go straight to Walter Benjamin.  The translation of 3-d works into subway ads really raises the issue of how reproduction influences our experience of the work of art.  In light of this issue, some of the curatorial choices struck us as really strange.

The image of  Pipolotti Rists’ installation seemed completely incomprehensible, and was among several works which can only be understood in their 3-d state (a fur teacup comes to mind). MoMA does itself (and the kinds of art that people think of as non-traditional) no favors by showing it in a reproduction that gives little to no sense of the impact of the work .

In the end we wondered why one would show a picture of a readymade when you could just as easily make a fake one and leave it in the middle of the station somewhere? (How much could a stool and bicycle wheel really cost anyway? They could have made hundreds.)  Has anyone else walked through this?  What did you think?


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