Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Asian Art: Gorgeous

This past Sunday afternoon I took advantage of a free day at the Asian Art Museum to see Gorgeous, an exhibit mixing works from the museum with objects from the SFMOMA.

Rather than presenting things in an historical or cultural context, the show asks viewers to examine the pieces' aesthetic impact on themselves.

The selections are a deliberate hodge-podge, but I had fun looking at the diverse array of objects. Buddhas, painted scrolls & Tibetan furniture share space with art by de Kooning, Jeff Koons & Tom of Finland. The original iPhone is in there as well.

Glamor is clearly an important aspect of gorgeousness for the curators. Even the catalog is in the form of a glossy fashion magazine.

To me, the objects were often simply kitschy or decadently decorative, though Dan Flavin's untitled (1987) fluorescent light sculpture looked gorgeous to me for some reason, ...

... as did Tobias Wong's conceptual Coke Spoon 02 (2005), a McDonald's coffee stirrer made of gold & bronze.

To emphasize that the exhibit is about the viewer, there is a set of tidy videos of man-on-the-street interviews in which people at colorful San Francisco locations are asked what they find gorgeous.

There were a lot of visitors, though not as many as I would have expected for a holiday weekend. Many people posed for pictures in the galleries. After all, what is more indisputably gorgeous than ourselves?

§ Gorgeous
Asian Art Museum
Jun 20 - Sept 14, 2014

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