Erwin Wurm, Hold your breath and think of Spinoza, realised by Cameron 2007, P: D. Eckersley;
originally uploaded by valleygirl2005.
I only chose one exhibition to see in Seattle: I love my time, I don’t like my time presenting recent work by Erwin Wurm, at the Frye Art Museum.
After spending the morning at the Seattle Library we were hungry and hoping to rely on a good museum café. We could and for once it was reasonably priced too. So, with our bellies full we went straight to the show and had a thoroughly enjoyable time. Some of the works we’d seen before, but the recent work was presented within a firm context. We had the most fun ‘realising’ sculptures according to the instructions.
When Damian realised that there were instructions for a sculpture referencing Spinoza, we went in search of Cameron, knowing that this is what he was reading. Cameron was compelled to realise the sculpture. We later came upon documentation of a one-minute sculpture where Wurm placed grapes in the gaps of his toes. I was particularly amused to learn that Damian was personally familiar with this experience and predicted that the outcome of the work would be grapes squirting between toes. When I shared his comments with Andrea we were laughing hysterically when Damian further, off-handedly, remarked that we were the weirdos for never having tried it. Further hysterics.
Andrea also overheard some interesting comments from some older ladies first encountering the one-minute sculpture in the entry drum – what appears to be scattered clothing. Initially they discussed the work as a new style of clothes storage, then a fundraising venture (op-shop style), before lamenting the current state of the arts. Further hysterics.
I enjoyed almost everything about this museum. It appeared intimate and connected to its audience. This was illustrated in the didactic panel accompanying Franz von Struck’s Sin, which stated that the work had recently been reinstated in the permanent collection’s salon and presented comments by viewers. Basically, it elaborated on their relief to see the work on permanent display again, their attraction to the work and its ‘compelling and dangerous sexual persona’.
Even the youth project and exhibition Pieces of Clothing presented quality work. Using the ideas addressed by Erwin Wurm as a departure point, students employed stop-motion animation to animate clothing and cutout fashion images, re-interpreting everyday attire and exposing the secret lives of clothes. The lecture program was thorough and even the membership programs were attractive; pity I don’t live in Seattle.
The Frye Art Museum focuses on representational art, but includes all its contemporary complexities. It seems that they’re directly achieving their recently developed vision statement: ‘The Frye Art Museum is a catalyst for transformation in individuals and communities. Furthermore, ‘admission to the Museum will always be free’, which seems to be a very rare statement in the US. Our only minute suggestions would be espresso coffees and to treat the museum shop as a more generous resource.
What a lovely, intimate, little museum.