Anish Kapoor


of an Exhibition

by Eric Siegel

Published on August 16, 2008, Modified on August 27, 2009

  • Description:

    We took a gallery walk through Chelsea this past week. The dog days of august are considerably more active than they used to be in the City, I guess with all the tourists and "staycation"ers. We saw some great stuff, but the standout was a small exhibition of work by Anish Kapoor at the Gladstone Gallery on 24th street. My first exposure to his work is the “Bean” in Chicago’s Millenium Park, which is a brilliant public art piece that combines extremely refined execution with a showman’s flair.

    This small exhibition consisted of several pieces of stainless steel bent, cast, forged, not sure exactly how he does it; but they are polished to a flawless mirror. The effect is the most brilliant funhouse mirror exhibition you ever have seen. These pieces allow you to explore the physics of light or just to see how you would look if you were 12 feet tall and your legs flared at 45 degrees from the knees to the ground. And the distinction between these two approaches wasn’t obvious. Every visitor (and there were several visitors with young kids, unlike any other gallery in Chelsea) became an experimenter, and everyone was delighted with the results of their experiment.

    So, my second reaction, after the delight of playing with these is: I want them for the Hall of Science! Then sober reflection sets in, and besides the price tag for an established contemporary artist who been a superstar at the Tate Modern, etc; a more discouraging thought sets in…Fingerprints! There was not a fingerprint on any of these pieces deep in the heart of “please do not touch” territory. We would go through gallons of polish daily at the Hall of Science, as our young experimenters tested the effect of greasy fingerprints on stainless steel.

    Still, work like this that so effectively and effortlessly bridges the gap between the haut art world and the hands on science world needs to be incorporated in places like the Hall. This small exhibition was beautiful, my 16 y/o daughter loved it, and it made me think.

    I have an image gallery with some short movies on it at <>
    (The first piece is from the buckminster fuller exhibition that was down the road.)

Latest Comments (2)

Should be in Science Centers!

by Paul Orselli - August 17, 2008

Hi Eric,

Nice review.

Leaving cost aside, I think it would be certainly possible to mount Kapoor’s work (or similar) in the Science Center environment.

I feel the same way about much of Olafur Eliasson’s work (which has been reviewed here on ExhibitFiles as well.)

The strong positive reactions generated by people who do not traditionally visit “science” museums would make it worth the investment!

Yes, yes, yes!

by Maria Mortati - September 25, 2008

I completely agree with you about putting such an exhibit into a hands-on/science museum space. I think that it’s completely “appropriate”. For me, this exhibit (and Eliasson’s) when placed in such a context would read as very… Kahnish. The strength of the exhibit is that it gives people direct access to phenomena [vs. ideas, which is more typical of contemporary art]. That is something the Exploratorium has capitalized on for many years. The interesting thing to me is the repeated success contemporary art institutions are having with such installations.

What might be enriching is to have some scientific interpretation adjacent to these pieces. The visitor can have a simple engagement and inform themselves further at leisure.

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