Modern Art Monday Presents: George Brecht, Repository

George Brecht Repository
Repository, 1961: Wall Cabinet containing pocket watch, thermometer, plastic and rubber balls, baseball, plastic persimmon, “Liberty” statuette, wood puzzle, toothbrushes, bottle caps, house number, plastic worm, pocket mirror, light bulbs, keys, hardware, photographs (All Photos By Gail)

The objects in this cabinet beg to be activated and handled. A key member of the Fluxus movement, George Brecht (1926 – 2008) choreographed events; more specifically, he turned objects into events by inviting the visitor’s engagement. Repository’s power relies on the strong stimulative nature of the items, and it could never be truly finished because the viewer and the event were always changing. Now that the work has entered an institutional context, however, the need to preserve it overrides the call to participation. Thus, the concept of discovery is forestalled by museum practice, leaving the eventfulness of Repository unfulfilled.

Repository Detail

Repository was Photographed in The Met Breuer (former home of The Whitney Museum), in Manhattan, where it is part of the Museum’s Inaugural Exhibit, Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible. The piece is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, also in New York City.

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