Corporate art has a look to it, and last year it’s name was MOMA. This is, in part, the result of reopening their Manhattan museum with the show Contemporary Voices: Works from the UBS Art Collection. The collection, while strong, is predictable in the ways that one can expect from corporate art. The show was comprised primarily of wall pieces, and is a lot like a Much Music Big Shiny Tunes album; a few big name artists, a couple of big hits, and a curatorial black hole that is commerce. In other words, the collection looks as though it has been put together for financial investment alone, and was therefore stale as fuck.
Thankfully that show came down in April. This September MOMA offers as us Take Two. Worlds and Views: Contemporary Art from the Collection, and if this is their replacement, I’m buying in.
Some of the highlights of the show are the latest Dana Schutz masterpiece, Presentation (as shown above), a James Turrell “magic” room (A Frontal Passage, 1994) which makes the permanent installation Skyspace he has at PS1 look like the piece of shit sky it really is, and the Janet Cardiff work Forty-Part Motet, 2001; A reworking of “Spem in Alium” by Thomas Tallis, 1575, a work designed specifically for the agnostic museum goer in all of us. (The piece is a recontextualized recording of the individual voices of a members of the Salisbury Cathedral Choir installed in a museum space as a minimalist forty speaker circle. In essence, it constitutes an incomplete erasure of the religious source, an aspect of the piece I’m not particularly fond of, but then who am I to poo-poo transcendence just because I think the footnote should be featured more prominently).
In any case, up until this point I had thought that the new architectural design had contributed to the new corporate look of MOMA. As it turns out, it’s the just been the 2005 curating efforts*. No doubt this is a real relief for MOMA.