Saturday, April 28, 2007

Terance Koh at the Whitney

Okay, I was hoping to start posting with a video of my husband reacting physically to an episode of American idol, but I'm having technical difficulties. I will post that at some point. So, second choice. Terance Koh at the Whitney.

I saw this installation when I went to the Moholy-Nagy/Albers show, so that was a while ago, end of January probably. Since then, I have read a couple critiques of the piece and I just wanted to weigh in. The installation features a bright light shining out from the Lobby Gallery, so bright in fact that you can't look at it. As I'm describing this, I am thinking about the element of the screen in the Whitney's front window, which people in the lobby are projected onto by the bright light, as silhouettes. I'm wondering if that was an intentional part of the piece, or something the Whitney had to install so that the light wouldn't interfere with traffic or something (??) I guess that would make a difference in terms of my reaction to the piece. I was loving it. The idea of something hanging in a museum that cannot be looked at because it could damage your eyes, (they have posters warning you not directly at the light) is pretty revolutionary. Maybe someone can tell me, is this the first time something has been hung in a show that literally cannot be looked at? The additional element of the silhouette of the viewer being seen from the street on a screen, brings together all sorts of elements of our current culture; celebrity, posing, paparrazzi. The pain and discomfort you feel in the presence of the light could be a comment on torture, or a reflection of an almost hostile break down between the artist and viewer. I thought his piece was really rocking. Brilliant! (har. har.) It's there till the end of May, go see it (or I guess, not see it:) You can probably get the idea by not even paying to go into the Whitney and just pretending to peruse the bookstore.

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