Sunday, March 6, 2011

Modern Lab: There is nothing to see here

Where: National Gallery of Art, East Building

When: through April 22, 2011

There is nothing to see here is not the most encouraging title for a show, especially one which requires a climb up to the East Building's upper level. Although not as steep a trek as that necessitated by the Tower room, it's no small voyage, and one would like to think there will be something to see when one finally arrives. Well, you might want to spare yourself the trip.

This is a small exhibit, easily seen in a lunchtime excursion - I'll say that for it. There are many solid black offerings, and I cannot help but repeat my opinion that this constitutes painting, not art. The focal point of the room is the large black plank pictured above. It's merely propped up against the back wall, and as the room was crowded when I visited, I had to be quite careful not to bump into it.

The crowd was a tour group, and I listened in on the guide's comments as I looked at the show. Apparently, the room isn't level, and they had quite a time getting the big black plank to stand up straight. I like these "views behind the curtain" of an exhibit; makes me think it would be fun to set up these shows, and figure out which work goes where, and how to make the floor level. The crowd did impede my ability to look at everything easily, and if I were looking at art I really liked, I would probably have been annoyed. As it was, I did not begrudge them their time or space.

Verdict: If you're looking for your daily workout, this will set you up nicely. Otherwise, I'd give it a miss.

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