Every work at a museum may compel a viewer to wonder how it was made or where it came from. However, there are some works whose genesis provokes a special degree of collective fascination. Gabriel Orozco’s Mobile Matrix, currently on view in MoMA’s Gabriel Orozco exhibition, is one such work. Read more
Just after I’d accepted my job at MoMA, I brought my six-year-old son along with me to visit. He entered the Marron Atrium and, with a sweeping, 360-degree review and an air of finality, announced, “I like your new museum, mom.” Good thing it passed muster.
I often wonder what it is to grow up in a museum. From the time he was two, Ethan had a steady diet of contemporary art. Bridges made of Meccano sets; entire cities built of pots and pans; rooms glowing with neon tubes; walls covered with “parades” of people made from ripped black construction paper; cars and trailers jack-knifed, emerging out of a museum plaza; metal squares on the floor, perfect for playing hopscotch—to Ethan, art always seems full of possibilities.
His own “work” attests to that, as we find colored-tape installations proliferating throughout our apartment—often accompanied by an objet trouvé repurposed in interesting ways, or a small love note to mom and dad.
Ethan, now nine, accompanied me to the office last week. Read more
“There is no way to identify a work by Orozco in terms of physical product. Instead, it must be discerned through leitmotifs and strategies that constantly recur, but in always mutating forms and configurations.”
—Ann Temkin, the Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture, from the Gabriel Orozco exhibition catalogue
That was my first reaction to Ann’s description of Gabriel Orozco’s practice. We were researching the artist, looking for persistent visual themes, devices, or elements in his work that could be used to anchor or accent the design of the exhibition website. The works that I was familiar with at the time—Black Kites, Citroen DL, the Atomist series—didn’t share obvious aesthetic connections, so I assumed that a common thread would be found in the pages of the catalogue. But here Ann was saying that Orozco’s mercurial practice provided little in the way of overt physical similarity. And that, given a looming deadline, was daunting. More fruitful were meetings Allegra Burnette (Creative Director of Digital Media) and I had with Ann and Paulina Pobocha, a curatorial assistant who worked on the exhibition. Though we didn’t come up with concrete ideas about the look of the site, the curators did provide insight as to its desired spirit: simple and playful. Simple, because the curators wanted something that was easy to use and understand, and playful, because what better way to conceptualize a website dedicated to an artist whose work has included the customization of both billiard and ping pong tables (Carambole with Pendulum, 1996, and Ping-Pond Table, 1998) and chess- and checkerboards (Horses Running Endlessly, 1995, and Lemon Game, 2001)? Read more