Saturday, January 7, 2017

A New Favorite in a Most Unlikely Place

Where: Hirshhorn Museum

When: through January 8, 2017

If you've not been to see Ragnar Kjartansson's mid-career retrospective at the Hirshhorn, stop whatever you're doing and run right over there this minute to see it before it closes tomorrow.

I've not been this excited about an artist since Yinka Shonibare, and regular readers of this blog will know how much I love his work.

My only regret is that I didn't see this show earlier in its run, so I could have seen it again.  Yet another argument against procrastination.  I confess, I thought it would be yet another Bataan Death March show on the Hirshhorn's second floor, a slog I'd be happy to see end.  In the event, nothing could have been further from the truth.  When I realized I'd made the full circuit, I was surprised and sorry that it was over.

So many great things in this show.  "Woman in E" is getting lots of press and deservedly so, so I'll refrain from adding my voice to the chorus of praise.  The video in the first room, where Death walks with children was creepy and funny all at the same time.  "You're just an elf with a stick," says one perceptive child - hilarious.  One of the wall notes speaks of "...the inevitable disappointment of romantic desire."  And the piece in the photo above (taken by me - another resolution for 2017, to use my own snaps) was described as referring to "...long-suffering Scandinavian icons of gorgeous misery."

Perhaps my favorite part was the enormous video installation, with multiple screens, of the artist and his friends all playing the same tune in a large house, each on a different instrument.  They wander about from screen to screen - you almost feel as if you're there with them.

Verdict: Great stuff - do not miss this!

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