Aten Reign at the Guggenheim (Stealth Photos By Gail)
Any Blogger who’s ever tried to photograph an exhibit at The Guggenheim will tell you it’s no easy task: what with their strict “No Photography” rules coupled with the numerous Art Nazis (aka guards) strategically placed throughout the galleries. And that just blows; because, to me, if you can’t photograph the art, it’s like it never existed. That’s why I only managed to capture a few good shots of James Turrel’s epic light installation, Aten Reign, as it transformed the Guggenheim’s Rotunda from various shades of purple to numerous hues of blue on its way through the entire color spectrum. But these few photos probably serve as a sufficient teaser, because this is one of those exhibits that you have to experience in person to really “get.”
For Aten Reign, the entire rotunda has been re-imagined to serve as a canvas for this intensely site-specific work of art. All open space between the rotunda and the museum’s spiraling ramps has been sealed off with white scrim, which reflects the colored lights and creates a meditative, open-sky effect. Visitors can best experience Aten Reign either by sitting on provided seating along the walls of the rotunda’s ground floor, or actually laying flat in the center of the floor on provided mats — though this space seemed to be in fairly high-demand, and was not prone to frequent vacancies.
There are a few other, minimalist exhibits of Turrel’s light work along the ramps and in a few of the upper galleries, but trust me, Aten Reign is the money shot, so spend as much time as you can just enjoying it. Find out more about the exhibit and see a video of how they put this thing together at Guggenheim Dot Org.
James Turrell At The Guggenheim (5th Avenue at 90th Street in NYC) Runs Only Through September 25, 2013, so don’t wait too long before planning your trip!
It was a few weeks ago now, back on November 11, 2011, that I had my first in person experience with Italian-born artist Maurizio Cattelan’s most unusual retrospective exhibit, All, when I visited the Guggenheim that Friday evening for a live performance by the very excellent pop band, MGMT. The band performed a tight, 45 minutes set of mostly instrumental new material specifically inspired by the 128 separate works now suspended from the ceiling oculus of the museum’s rotunda. The songs fell very much within the surf-psychedelia vein of MGMT’s well-loved sound with a bit of a soundtrack vibe befitting the evening’s experiencing in general. Also, gee whiz, but what a spectacularly hallucination-inducing light show they had! I’m still having flashbacks. Music! Art!
The following week I had to pay another visit to the museum to take in All once again, because when I was there for the MGMT show I had a beer in my hand and the Art Nazis (guards) wouldn’t let me go up past the second ramp with a beer. And you really do need to trek all the way to the top of the ramp to fully experience the innumerable subtle nuances of this exhibit, which literally reveals itself further and further at every turn. The time lapse video above shows the installation process by the museum staff, which will answer your most pressing questions about “just how they got that stuff up there.” See it while you can.
Maurizio Cattelan’s All is on Exhibit until January 22, 2012 at the Guggenheim, Located at Fifth Avenue and 89th Street. Museum hours are extended to 7:45 PM on Monday and Tuesday nights (from 5:45 PM on other days) from December 6, 2011 to January 17, 2012. More information is available at This Link.
It really is true that I missed the best New York City weather so far this year during the week I spent vacationing in Chicago. It also seems to be the case that I brought Chicago’s dreary, damp and cold weather back with me (you’re welcome), as yesterday was one of those Saturdays where you can’t help but ask, “How can I manage to leave my house but still spend all day indoors avoiding this crap weather?” You know what I’m talking about. On such a day, Geoffrey and I found ourselves at the marvelous Guggenheim Museum, where there was much arty fabulousness to enjoy for free (thank you, Corporate Membership)!