Monday, July 12, 2010

How many people does it take to screw in a lightbulb at MMoCA?

How Many People Does It Take to Screw in a Lightbulb at MMoCA?
That's what I first thought when I passed the glass prow of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art on State Street the other day. A bad joke. And I didn't know the punchline. But the process definitely seems to take a very tall ladder, one that reaches so high it seems to pierce the clouds. Biggest ladder I ever saw. Gave me vertigo just to look at it.

But the more I thought about it, I figured I probably had it all wrong. Should the real question be "how many bloggers does it take to miss the point?"

I began to think it might actually be a work of art. Either the reflections were wreaking havoc with it, or that was one strange looking ladder. The second set of rungs seemed to be in the wrong position, and the perspective was all wrong. I figured I better get more information.

Sure enough, a quick check at the MMoCA website showed it was part of the Wisconsin Triennial.
Actualsize Artworks--a collaborative team comprised of Gail Simpson and Aris Georgiades--will assemble and install a large sculptural ladder and hanging light in the museum's iconic glass prow. The work, which will be visible to passersby as well as museum visitors, addresses attainment and craft, dedication and resolution.
Here's how Jennifer A. Smith described it in her Isthmus review.
Vanishing Point, a 20-foot-high piece by the team known as Actualsize Artworks (Gail Simpson and Aris Georgiades of Stoughton), works well in MMoCA's glass prow. It's part ladder, part optical illusion: The higher you go, the closer together the rungs get, and the sides of the ladder narrow in.

Above the ladder, a lamp with a single exposed bulb sways in a circular motion. The effect — which you can check out from the various landings on MMoCA's glass staircase — is a little dizzying.
I guess that you could say that in addition to addressing "attainment and craft, dedication and resolution," the installation addresses jumping to conclusions. Plus, it looks intriguing from the street.

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