Thursday, December 1, 2016

At the Jewish Museum's 'Take Me (I'm Yours)' Exhibit, An Interesting Concept Falls Flat

At its core, 'Take Me (I'm Yours)', the newest exhibit at the Jewish Museum, is about production and consumption. The concept that this group show hinges on is simple: each piece is made up of one or more mass produced objects, any of which the viewer is invited to take a piece of. Each museum-goer is presented with a small bag to carry the pieces home, turning the gallery space into a free gift shop of sorts.

The concept itself is an interesting one. This idea subverts the standard relationship between a viewer and a piece of art, and provides a much needed break in the fourth wall of the gallery space. However, many of these artists didn't make much of an effort to elevate their pieces beyond little trinkets for the taking. 

One table featured an array of open cardboard boxes, each of which held a stack of xeroxed pictures of a cloudy sky. This piece was one of the few that actually utilized the potential of this show's concept. Over time as people took paper from the array of xeroxes, each paper stack changed height, turning the whole table into a morphing, asymmetrical, 3D time based composition. 

Even though there were some enjoyable parts of the show, (temporary tattoos and stencils by conceptual art legend Lawrence Weiner, a couple cool prints, free seltzer,) pretty much everything in the gallery save a couple pieces failed to transcend simple novelty. If more of the pieces had been pushed more ambitiously, beyond the bare minimum required to fulfill the concept, this show could have been very interesting. Unfortunately, there is little going on in this show beyond its gimmick.


  1. I feel that this is a really great review of exactly what this exhibit was, and it really resonated with my own feelings about the piece. It felt like a gimmicky experience, and I think you did a really good job explaining why. I wish there were maybe a few more examples of the gimmicky pieces that were there that felt like simple, cheap souvenirs, like the magnets or the sugar pills. Your closing also feels a little awkward to me, like you suddenly just stopped in the middle of a thought. Otherwise though, this is a really great review of this exhibition.

  2. As Katie said, I think you did a good job identifying why this exhibit felt strange. I was excited at the concept, but the excitement didn’t carry past the initial surprise of being able to take things. It was easy to forget you were in a museum and not some novelty pop-up shop. Your observation of the Xeroxed papers was interesting. I hadn’t thought of the stacks as their own alterable piece. It may have been even more interesting if they’d been only stacks of paper rather than being inside boxes. The same could be said for the carbonated water display which was relegated to the wall and missed the opportunity completely to be engaging as a changing sculpture.