Oct 20, 2011
commented on Glossing Over Upheaval and Violence
Jen, I think your criticisms miss the point of the show. The curator, and the artist Do-Ho-Suh bring attention to the fact that there isn’t necessarily a “right” story to tell about these objects. They have a history, as you allude to, and that’s one story that can be told where it is known. They also have object-hood and they can be appreciated in that way as well. These objects had a context for which they were originally created, and now they have a different one. I think it is valid to appreciate the changing lives of objects without necessarily bringing up why they changed, even though that it also an important conversation. In one quote Do-Ho Suh asks, “Can beauty be absolutely free from time, space and context?” I think that this show seeks to pose that question, not answer it. This exhibition seems to me to be an offering rather than an ultimatum, suggesting questions we may ask about the objects, about their presentation in the museum, and even about our expectations of the museum experience, but it intentionally leaves these questions unanswered, inviting visitors to draw their own conclusions. As the viewer, we are left to contemplate 160 beautiful objects and the possibility, perhaps uncomfortable to some, that maybe there isn’t one right answer.