one day in moma

Moma came up trumps once again yesterday. They know how to do a good show. Evident from the hoards of people spilling from gallery to gallery. This is the second time I've been and each time I've come out having been to see something I may not have otherwise sought out to see. (Buying a one day pass for all the shows really supports this.)  Subject matter is broad and eclectic so you get a really good spread of work both culturally and in terms of media and discipline. I love Tate for example - but I do wish they'd include some more design shows in their repertoire from time to time. Moma happily places 'fine art' next to product design and graphics and lets the viewer decide what's what, or what they want to be what. And it keeps it lively and interesting. 

Spent pretty much the whole day taking it all in and was particularly taken with Talk to Me: Design & the Communication Between People & Objects & I Am Still Alive: Politics & Everyday Life in Contemporary Drawing. Some of my favourite bits in terms of things I'm thinking about right now follow.

Reiterative Communication Aid, part of the Devices for Mindless Communication series , 2010, Gerard Ralló
Personal Advisor for Reintegration, part of the Devices for Mindless Communication series , 2010, Gerard Ralló
A series of work exploring how the way we communicate is shifting and mutating and envisaging how we might need to support particular types of interaction due to loss of skills in the future.  The Reiterative Communication Aid examines pointless and idle chatter through plotting patterns in the wearer's dialogue with others. Ultimately it displays automatic visual responses to questions on its screen that are particular to that wearer, so that they no longer need to. In direct opposition to this the Personal Advisor for Reintegration preserves the art of small talk by displaying prompts to the wearer of the future who has forgotten how to engage in light banter.

From Mouth to Mouth, 2006, Johanna Bresnick & Michael Cloud Hirschfeld
In the Old Testament, God directs Ezekiel to eat a scroll of lamentations so that he can speak God's words to the people of Israel. Bresnick and Hirschfeld placed the entire text of Leviticus, one of the five books of the Torah, in digestible pills. According to Moma: The designers suggest a comparison between medicinal and religious prescription, as well as the idea of many people ingesting the same knowledge and then interpreting it differently, even questioning it.

Talk to Yourself Hat, 2006, Kate Hartman
A hat designed to allow the wearer to talk to themselves via a soft trunk-like pipe. The hat replaces one kind of embarrassing or shameful act (talking to oneself in public) with another (having to wear the hat!).

Dialogue Piece, 1969, Lee Lozano
Lozano sounds like a pretty interesting, if rather full-on character. She appears to have very much lived her life as her art. This piece, started in 1969, was adhered to until she died in 1999. The conceptual actions and practices became more and more extreme throughout her life, in 1971 she began a month long experiment called  Decide to Boycott Women, which became a 27 year refusal to speak to or otherwise engage with people of her own sex.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, 1993, Frances Stark
This series of carbon-paper transfer drawings are copies made from an edition of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1915) by T.S. Eliot that Stark discovered, containing a previous reader's notes and comments. Stark was interested in how the unknown reader had interacted with the text. 'The annotations are like arrows pointing where and how to look at what may otherwise go unnoticed,' she said, 'Marginalia shows a reader perching intermittently on the body of text, leaving reminders to "reenter here!" or summaries to say "no need to cover this ground again". It's good to see real pieces of Stark's work as I only have books of her writings and images, and this set of five are beautifully composed and glorious in their simplicity.
Tabula Rasa, 1951-56, Mangelos (Dimitrije Bašicevic)
A fitting end to the post. Tabula Rasa - oil on four albumen prints with gouache (and a bit of reflected-Ridout for good measure) - is blackness calling us to abandon old systems and regimes and start afresh. Links back somehow to my charcoal dictionary and the 'and like this to infinity' image from Wellcome, which I've been thinking about a lot lately.