Cans of water, magnets, buttons, safety pins and dozens of free objects can be found all over the second floor of the Jewish Museum. But these aren't just any kind of mass-produced items, they are all works of art produced by a group of 42 artists from different generations and nationalities. In this unique show visitors are allowed to touch, eat and even take home the works of art, thus defying the conventions established by the art market.
The visitor is welcomed by a large green neon sign reading the title of the exhibition, a sort of flashy announcement of the of the unconventional artworks inside. A set of clear plastic bags are available for the viewer to take and then fill with the pieces they choose to take from the show. Inside the exhibit, artworks are not arranged thematically or chronologically and are exhibited in a seemingly random way. Felix Gonzalez-Torres, "Untitled" (USA Today), is perhaps the anchor piece of the show. The 1990 installation consists of thousands of candies extended in a long stripe over the floor created to pay a conceptual homage to the victims of AIDS. The viewer is free to take a piece, contributing to the disappearance of the pile of candies and consuming a sweet product that seems to hide the bitterness of the situation. On the other end of the exhibition, Carsten Höller, Pill Clock (red and white pills), created in 2015, allows the viewer to take another type of placebo, perhaps a more literal one. The Pill Clock drops a red and white pill onto the gallery floor every three seconds.
Both artworks form part of an intergenerational dialogue of artists creating work that involves the viewer to address sociopolitical issues. But the structure of the exhibition turns the artworks into loose fragments, singular moments that aren't connected to a larger context.