Monday, April 30, 2018

Danh Vo “Take My Breath Away” at the Guggenheim

Danh Vo “Take My Breath Away”- #3

This show did indeed take my breath away. It stuck with me for awhile afterword’s. It’s the idea of framing an idea in such a way, an orchestration of context that was so impactful to me. Vo does it in many ways. Often it is the nature of the contrasting elements within his work, re-contextualizing objects and perhaps changing or broadening their meaning. A piece like “Your mother sucks cocks in hell, 2015”. A line taken from the film The Exorcist. After watching many talks with Mr. Vo, I couldn’t help to be further affected by the level of detail but also and air of something magical, like pieces or ideas at times would fall into his lap. I recall a video of him recounting how he obtained a large amount of whale bones. His childhood was a tumultuous one, strewn with the presences of war and having to abandon one’s home and find a new one at a young age. The work wasn’t boisterous, loud, or in your face. My personal favorites were the combine sculptures, where specific works from history were dissected and made anew. I think the Guggenheim museum is a space that many artists find their work looking or reflected upon disagreeably because of the architecture of the space. This is due to the slanted nature of the building and the ascending or descending effect of how you travel through the museum. Because Vo did not overfill the space, there were vacancies of space between each work that were extremely important. I would highly recommend the show.


  1. Word count? Also the formatting makes me read it like a poem, which is actually kind of funny but a little confusing. One place you could build up the word count is by talking a little bit more about the "orchestration of context" maybe? That does that mean? That's a really interesting term but isn't clear to me as a reader coming at this review for the first time. You could also elaborate more on "pieces falling into his lap," maybe give us a little understanding of how he obtained the pieces and how visually they reflect that.

  2. I must say I disagree that Vo re-contextualizes the objects in this show, he contextualizes them. Outside of what the exhibition provides the objects are artifacts. What is re-contextualized are the cut and pieced together sculptures. I think you could talk more about this as you mentioned "Your mother sucks cocks in hell already". I would also split this review in to multiple paragraphs. Your personal research of videos of Vo is interesting but I'd like this to be explored more. It seems like you don't have a point to make about the show. With Vo's work I found it difficult to articulate what's so amazing about it as well. That said, "I recommend the show" is a weak ending.