Sunday, January 11, 2015

Black Box: Ragnar Kjartansson

Where: Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden

When: through April 19, 2015

In addition to the big display of video art on the 2nd floor, the Hirshhorn is also showing the latest in their Black Box series.  It's an offering from Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson called S. S. Hangover.

The gist of the video is a small wooden boat going up and down one of the canals in Venice during the 2013 Biennale.  The description of the video makes me think that there's something more going on, but this was all I saw in the 20 minutes or so that I watched it.  The problem is that the video is 243 minutes long.  Yes, 243 minutes - 4 hours.  When I saw that, at first I thought it must be 24.3 minutes, but no, it's 243.  Who is going to sit for four hours in a museum and watch a video?  Even if you wanted to devote that much time (I could take a day off if it mattered that much to me), the seating is not that comfortable, and at some point, I'm going to need to visit the restroom.

I liked what I saw well enough, and I think the division of the screen into two views of the canal is interesting, but I'm not going to sit for four hours to see the whole thing.  I wish that the Hirshhorn would offer a condensed version of it, but I suppose their mission is to offer a full viewing, as you can see clips on YouTube easily enough.

Verdict: If anyone sits through the full four-hour presentation, please let me know!

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