I didn't exactly hate the cars, but I don't think even a flawless installation could ever make this work of art rise above mediocrity. The problem is that it simply takes up way more space than it is worth.
Um, I love the cars! But then, I work at the Museum with the kiddos, and the school tours FUCKING LOVE THOSE CARS oh my god. Seriously in our surveys, a good 50% of the kids list the cars as their favorite part of the Museum, and we get to teach them about installations and contemporary art. They walk in and their little faces light the fuck up, its unreal.

I saw the piece in its original Mass MoCA setting, arguably before Cai became anything resembling a household name in the art world.

Installed well, the piece is effective. It impresses on a spatial level, and captures a kinetic excitement without shying away from its own artifice.

The conceptual underpinnings of Inopportune only begin to achieve depth when seen in relation to complementary works (a series of tumbling tigers struck by a volley of arrows, a video loop of the car involving actual fireworks) or to Cai's larger body of work (gunpowder "paintings", vending machines full of Chinese herbal elixirs, an overriding fascination with Eastern innovations and icons appropriated by globalization and mass consumption).

So in addition to botching the spatial installation, SAM royally botched the presentation of explanatory thematic context. Thus the ensuing decade of public confusion and consternation Jen describes.

After becoming an "art juggernaut", ...Stage One (the car piece) did find its way into dozens of temporary installation situations around the world. I've heard the Guggenheim version (entirely vertical, also as centerpiece of a broader Cai Guo-Qiang show) was excellent. I'm sure many other installations were not.

But it seems notable that no other institutions thought it could be effectively enshrined in permanent display. It does not speak well of SAM's established-blockbuster-chasing ethos that the museum attempted such a feat without, apparently, bothering to determine (or care) whether such an installation would succeed.
I like big butts and I cannot lie
Any car not on the road is a good car. Hang 'em all from a ceiling, the ceiling has been reached.

The kids seem to know this and are delighted. Yay @3 !
They're not just "cars", they're white Ford Tauruses. Does Jen Graves even know what that means?
Will this War on Cars never cease?!
snark snaark snarrrrksnarville.... gawd forbid we inspire and delight CHILDREN in a museum!! Unless it massages my perfectly curated thought pattern, it must go! buhbye!~
Good riddance! I was actually yelled (yes, yelled) at for letting my one year old son touch the "art" - the car on the floor of the lobby (without barriers or signs). Really?! Way to make kids and families feel welcome... I get that it isn't a kids' museum, but if you don't want kids touching something you might not want to put it smack dab in the middle of the lobby without any barriers, especially if it's a car (my son is obsessed). It was so sweet to see how happy and excited he was to run back and forth looking at and very occasionally touching the car, and so sad to see his confusion and hurt when we were yelled at and told to stop. I mean, would it really be that hard to wipe the fingerprints off at the end of the day?! Anyway, now I hate those cars...
NIGHTMARE over indeed...I too hate these and the poor installation SAM gave them. Potentially they would be better if space like MASS MoCA was to be ours however, goodbye to an eyesore. Oh, and speaking of MASS MoCA, that is one outstanding museum!
Good riddance. Feed them to the Fremont Bridge Troll.
@10 your kid was touching art in a museum, and the guard told them not to. That's their job. I guarantee you were not actually yelled at. Sorry, I know you're fond of the drama of your version of the story, but yeah. Don't touch art and museum guards will happily leave you and your shitty kids alone.

Please wait...

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