Immerse Yourself in the Himalayan Wind: Sacred Spaces at the Rubin Museum

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Sacred Spaces is an enchanting, tranquil experience at the Rubin Museum. This exhibition wraps the entirety of the fourth floor. It includes a shrine room with an adjoining gallery for supplemental materials, sound installation, record room, and video installation. The works were commissioned by the museum. They focus on the mission to support art of the Himalayas, which is where the artists traveled to in creating their pieces. The theme of wind has been implemented into each of the works which carries the viewer onward through each installation.

Sacred Spaces keeps consistent with the museum’s atmosphere as a whole. Walls facing the open areas of the central staircase are a dark gray, similar to the tones of other floors. This creates a feeling as if one is inside a dimly-lit temple. Through the use of the dark atmosphere, the visual aspects can be highlighted, focusing one’s attention selectively. Also, the visitor is more prone to be transported into a meditative state by the sound installations as the sense of hearing is called forward.

The shrine room is a replica of a Tibetan Buddhist temple. Sounds of bells and Eastern string instruments play with a hum of wisping through the track. A low, wooden ceiling has been constructed to fit the scene and activates the nose with its wood scent. One is lead to an adjacent gallery by its mustard yellow paint, where wall text explains the nuances of the display. A touch screen is implemented to allow one to select areas of the shrine to zoom in and read more about the objects.

Within the next gallery, four speakers stand evenly spaced on either side of the room. Bean bags are placed down the center for the visitor to relax and be transported by the sound installation. The lights are extremely dim to allow for meditation as one hears the music within the Himalayan wind. Within the next gallery, three pedestals stand with record players atop them which play wind-inspired sound pieces. The viewer is invited to listen through headsets and flip the records while viewing artworks that have been created by wind blowing ink across a page.

The last room plays two videos of mirroring content, where a kaleidoscope image of wind-blown prayer flags waves across the screen. Seating is placed along the opposite wall with headphones so one may listen to the sound art of the wind that is causing the movement of the flags.

Sacred Spaces creates a soothing, yet intriguing, experience. It fits seamlessly into the scheme of the museum as a whole. The curatorial decisions carry the viewer to a meditative state through the dim lighting, comfortable seating environments, and the consistency of the wind sounds. The viewer is engaged by participating in the atmosphere of the shrine room, meditating in the comfort of the seating, and being the disc jockey of their own record station. This exhibition transports the viewer by capturing the essence of being present at twilight in the Himalayan wind.

Sacred Spaces
The Rubin Museum of Art
November 11, 2016 – June 5, 2017

 

 

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“REJOICE! OUR TIMES ARE INTOLERABLE” Jenny Holzer and Political Deja Vu

REJOICE! OUR TIMES ARE INTOLERABLE: Jenny Holzer’s Street Posters, 1977-82 has stirred up mixed reviews since its opening on Friday, January 13th. This unlucky day is fitting for an art exhibition relevant to this unlucky year.

The exhibition lies within the minute Alden Projects space on the Lower East Side. The works featured are square posters in a myriad of colors, all printed on in BOLD ALL CAPS ITALIC font, her signature style. Jenny Holzer is known for the honest social commentary, delivered with a sting, as seen in these works. Upon inspecting the pieces closely, one can notice the yellowing of the edges or crease marks from long ago. However, the words seem as if they were made just this year, in the time since January 20th. Phrases such as, “THE END OF THE U.S.A. ALL YOU RICH FUCKERS SEE THE BEGINNING OF THE END AND TAKE WHAT YOU CAN WHILE YOU CAN,” and, “FEAR IS THE MOST ELEGANT WEAPON. YOUR HANDS ARE NEVER MESSY,” sound as if they are a direct comment on the new administration.

Despite this exhibition’s blatant relevancy, some are questioning if it’s actually effective. Hyperallergic has hailed it as, “Jenny Holzer’s Blowtorch in the Darkness.” On the other hand, the online journal, Filthy Dreams, comments, “Is digging up old pieces of paper by Jenny Holzer to address our ‘unpresidented’ times really all we got? This isn’t the 1970s anymore; that’s just not going to cut it. In fact, I’m embarrassed and bored.” The gallery’s owner, Todd Alden, purposefully created this show from his personal collection of Holzer’s posters to address the new administration after the recent election results. Whether it is the best we can do or not, it seems the more public outlets aiming to subvert the administration, the better.

Vogue has proclaimed for the New York public to, “Get Ready to See Jenny Holzer Take Over Your Instagram Feed.” While at first, this seems counterproductive and shallow, a second thought may help reveal that this is just the millennial version of Holzer’s mission. These posters were created to be plastered all over the city. In the 70s and 80s, that was the ephemeral means of mass communicationwhat Instagram is to the culture of today. So, post your filter-perfect, rant-filled squares and carry on the backhand slap that Jenny Holzer has delivered for timeless uses.

 

REJOICE! OUR TIMES ARE INTOLERABLE: Jenny Holzer’s Street Posters, 1977-82
Alden Projects
January 13 – February 12, 2017

 

Sources:
Micchelli, Thomas. “Jenny Holzer’s Blowtorch in the Darkness.” Hyperallergic. January 28, 2017. Accessed February 07, 2017. http://hyperallergic.com/354443/jenny-holzers-blowtorch-in-the-darkness/.
Colucci, Emily. “Could Camp Be A Tactic Against President Trump?” Filthy Dreams. January 29, 2017. Accessed February 07, 2017. https://filthydreams.wordpress.com/2017/01/29/could-camp-be-a-tactic-against-president-trump/.
Garcia, Patricia. “Jenny Holzer’s Poster Show at Alden Projects Is About to Take Over Your Instagram Feed.” Vogue. January 31, 2017. Accessed February 07, 2017. http://www.vogue.com/article/jenny-holzer-show-rejoice-our-times-are-intolerable.