September, 2018 Archives

These two remarkable objects are a new installation at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. I guarantee you that when you see them in person, you’ll experience an extraordinary feeling. You’ll get submerged both in grief and relief and realize what it means to see true art.

The square absence is beautifully crafted and tended. Its pins and needles have been wiped clean. The silver frame shows off its void like a treasure: like a velvet gap of a ring box, or the dreamless gaze of LA’s silver screen. The second absence shreds that peace. It’s loss is rugged, hasty in its grief. We see a glimmer of a cellophane wrap. We guess the fingerprints after the quick rip.

Both absences are situated in an identical yellow expanse, and it is this juxtaposition that makes the installation a success. The background is oblivious in its buttery spread. As it happily melts it yellow, it questions each absence and at the same time prints them firmly, like an ad.

Actually, none of what I’ve just said is true. At all. The picture you just saw is not an installation at MOMA. No world-class museum has showcased this art. The jeweled black void is a announcement board hanging in an apartment building by an old elevator. The shred of tape is a note that didn’t fit into the frame. None of them are works of art. Never were, never will be.

Except for a second ago from now, when you looked through the image and saw them as such. Give it a go – refresh that experience. Blink, look again – there they are. We’ve been doing this for Duchamp’s fountain for hundreds of years. Can’t we do the same for an old elevator, its blank silver screens and its unwilled art?

Absence of will at night