Sunday, May 1, 2011

Art Installation/Gift Shop

The map dress is done and ready to be delivered to the museum. And the rest of its story will be posted. (I was disappointed to start this posting last weekend but went out in the middle of writing - a lesson to compose a post in Word and copy it to the blog! Did I learn? No, I am again typing this story here...)

But first I'm going to make a little side trip to San Franscisco where we saw a fascinating phenomonen at the Museum of Modern Art. On the fifth floor, in a large room near some sculpture there arose a gift shop. It didn't look quite real to me. I paused for a half second, wondering why this shop was here but (I'm proud to say) immediately recognized that this was an art piece, full of real shoppers who saw a gift shop and immediately started shopping.

It felt to me as though there was an invisible line keeping me out, much like the instinct that keeps you a distance away from a famous sculpture, or keeps your hands folded behind your back at an auto show.

I watched this shopping process and walked the perimeter. Meanwhile my husband approached a security guard to ask if it was an installation, and yes indeed, it was. He said it's been up a few months and will be down soon but that the participating artists are selling their own work (looked like notebooks, T-shirts, other small items from my vantage point) and have been making a bundle as MOMA is not charging a commission.

One area that gave it away to Gary and me was this storage area at one side. The screenprinted signs are way too simple: "Worst Business Venture Ever!," "Lost Our Lease," and so on. They were placed deliberately askew on the tabletop (I saw one viewer straighten one) and a little too neatly messy.
This was one of the most intriguing installations I've seen in a long time, going back to my Kent State art department days when this was what we did, messing with the viewer's mind, or at least trying to.

1 comment:

  1. So I'm guessing the "shop clerk" for check out must be doing a great bit of acting!! How surreal! It's like the customers became part of the exhibit! It's like... Craft Voyeurism. I'm sorta weirded out... LOL!