Published October 26, 2009
The Guggenheim’s main show, a retrospective of the works of modernist and spiritual theoritician Wassily Kandinsky, has some memorable drips for the museum’s rotunda. But there are two more insidious drips secretedin the upstairs galleries. On the Level 5 Annex Kitty Kraus is the second artist invited to participate in the museum’s Interval series for young artists. Kraus installs Untitled (2009) a lamp encased in a block of ice mixed with ink. Heat from the light source melts the frozen substance, slowly casting a black streak across the floor of the museum. Above that work, she’s suspended Untitled (2009), a plane of glass you barely notice. Once you do, you can imagine its shattering—but which at least you can’t knock into. Read the full interview with Kraus about the installation on Art in America.
On the top floor gallery, the museum pairs work in gold by Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Roni Horn. The installation addresses the gifts that the artists gave each other as a way of thinking about exchange. Horn first mailed Gonzalez-Torres a chunk of gold as a promise of friendship. In reponse, he created Untitled (Placebo–Landscape–for Roni) (1993), an endlessly replaceable spill of candy wrapped with gold cellophane. The works on view here are not those gifts.
The museum shows Horn’s delicate panel of pure gold, just over 1/100th millimeters in depth; it’s a fragile take on Minimalist floor panels, and a tricky take on exchange of currency unburdened by real value. but back to those drips—the work by Gonzalez-Torres is a curtain of faux-gilded beads. The artist has elsewhere done red plastic curtains that evoke blood, which is contextualized by the AIDS crisis. The museum says the work on display “evokes a sense of festivity.” Stop right there! With its sparkling streams in a rather familiar yellow hew, this is clearly a golden shower, through which every tourist and senior citizen visitor to the museum can now pass. It’s yet another gift money cannot buy.
Kitty Kraus, Untitled, 2009. Courtesy Galerie Neu and the artist. Installation view, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2009. Photo: David Heald © The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York.
Foreground: Roni Horn, Gold Field, 1980–82; background: Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled” (Golden), 1995. Photo: David Heald © The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York.
Both exhibitions are on view through January 6, 2010.