MUSEUM EDITION, 2020
beacon, new york, September 2020
I have found it hard to describe my experience at Dia and I now believe it's an experience that is simply indescribable. It is something you have to experience yourself. I will say, the moment I stepped into Dia I felt alive. It was my first time in a longgg time where I felt excited to explore a new place, with art I had never seen, in upstate New York, where it was quiet and the air was fresh. It seemed to be the place I had been searching for.
Dia is not your usual museum. It is an art foundation dedicated to "advancing, realizing, and preserving the vision of artists. Dia fulfills its mission by commissioning single artist projects, organizing exhibitions, realizing site-specific installations, and collecting in-depth the work of a focused group of artists of the 1960s and 1970s." That, it has done.
For the first time in years, I looked at art and did not think about race or gender. I honestly didn't think about anything. Instead, I felt everything. I was introduced to artists I've never heard of. I saw work that fully captivated my attention and work that I thought was good. I wasn't thinking about posting any of it to Instagram. I was present and soaking it all in. The natural lighting, the wooden floors, the different rooms, objects, sculptures, textures, materials, everything.
For two hours I was able to just be with the art. I didn't have to think about the world outside of Dia and frankly, I have not been able to find that peace since.
What a relief it was to feel nothing but great things from these great works of art. How amazing it was to be present and not obsess about the future or the past.
I am moved by the vision of Dia and the artists whose work and memory live there. I am eternally grateful to have had such a transcending experience with art in such a dark time. Dia introduced to me new ways to think and feel about art. It showed me what art is and can be. Overall, the works curated together told one story and it didn't even have a theme. Talk about a great show...
READ MORE ABOUT DIA: HERE
Untitled (with michael heizer), 2020
michael heizer, North, East, South, West, 1967/2002
Untitled (with Gerhard Richter), 2020
the Guggenheim, New York, January 2020
It was Artistic License at The Guggenheim that showed me that I, an artist, can curate. I've seen artists curate exhibitions in the past, but I have never seen a curated exhibition like this one. Artistic License highlighted parts of Guggenheim's collection curated into six themes by six artists, including, Guo-Giang, Paul Chan, Richard Prince, Julie Mehretu, Carrie Mae Weems, and Jenny Holzer. I saw this exhibition twice. I had to. I felt like my eyes were opening for the first time and I had to go back for more.
Along with the exhibition, The Guggenheim featured behind-the-scenes videos, where each artist discusses their process of selecting a theme and artworks from the collection. Throughout the duration of the show, there were art talks from all six artists separately. I was able to catch Carrie Mae Weems' talk in person and like the many times I have seen Weems speak, I was touched and inspired by her words, perspective, talent, and courage to call it like it is: addressing The Guggenheim's lack of diversity in their collection.
It was this exhibition that helped me understand the importance of museums. Museums preserve culture. They preserve history. They are spaces that can appreciate art and the artists, vowing to keep their works safe and memory alive for generations to come. I'm not going to pretend like museums are great at their jobs, as we know The Guggenheim is not a safe place for people of color and women in the arts, but it was this show that helped me see what museums could be and what they should be.
Even though I want to be anti-museums, I am not and it is shows like this one that remind me why I cannot be and why we must fight to make museums what we know they are supposed to be. I was amazed at Guggenheim's collection and what these six artists were able to do with it. We were able to see The Guggenheim's collection through the eyes of artists. I mean, what else could you ask for?
This is my #1 choice for the top museum exhibitions of 2020.