Monday, December 12, 2016

“Take me (I’m Yours)” at the Jewish Museum

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.  


  1. I like that you identified a few pieces that really stuck out to you and that the novelty of the show might overshadow the content of certain pieces. I would discuss this more. The intro paragraph could be condensed and I would drop the bit about defying the art market. Focus on the materiality of these works and why being able to take part of it away adds to the greater meaning. The context is that you can take whatever you want, but determining the content of each piece and why you would want to take part of it with you is what really is interesting.

  2. Overall, I think that this review does a good job of describing the premise of the exhibition! I think the way you describe the works in your introduction is especially effective. I also think that the piece flows well from the introduction to your description of a few specific works from the show.
    I do feel like you could a lot more to touch on what the participatory premise of the works does for the pieces, as well as the exhibition as a whole. How does involving the viewer address sociopolitical issues that other types of works might not? Where does it work? Where does it not work, and why? Does it become gimmicky when too many works employ this strategy altogether?
    Finally, your concluding sentence seems like the only critique you provide in your review, but it could use some more explanation. Can you provide more examples for your reader to arrive at this conclusion or critique?

  3. I felt that the first paragraph of your review provided a visual hook that draws the reader in. Your statement about defying the conventions established by the art market was very insightful. Your second paragraph gave an excellent descriptions of what stood out to you as a viewer. I believe however that the first sentence of your third paragraph should end your second since it completes the idea included within that description. I would then recommend for your third paragraph to expand on your conclusion beginning with that second sentence (taking out the word “But”) - “The structure of the exhibition turns the artworks into loose fragments, singular moments that aren't connected to a larger context”; and give more examples or analysis of this conclusion.

  4. I think your review captures the feel of the show. I particularly like how you describe Felix Gonzalez-Torres work. I think the final paragraph could have been expanded. You state that the structure of the exhibition doesn't pull the art to the larger context. You could have used another sentence or two to clarify this.