Rob Marks

From this Author

Anselm Kiefer at Mass MoCA

Two of the beds in The Women of the Revolution showing could be mistaken from above for desert or mining landscapes, shifting in scale from intimate to massive. The Women of the Revolution (Les Femmes de la Révolution), 1992/2013 (detail); lead beds: dimensions variable; photograph on lead: 138 x 174 in. Courtesy of MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA, and Hall Art Foundation, New York. Photo: Saul Rosenfield.

Imagine a corrugated metal shed in which two facing walls tower twenty-five feet high and extend fifty-eight feet in length. Each interior wall is paneled with fifteen six-foot by nine-foot Anselm Kiefer paintings that rise three feet high. Layering seems an apt metaphor not only for this work, Velimir Chlebnikov (2004)—whose shed stands inside the gallery building, inside the museum, inside the grounds of a former[.....]

Yarn Trails: Visual Resonance Among Three Exhibitions in Chicago

Detail of Academic Connections: Media Atlas, 2014, an undertaking of Professor W.J.T. Mitchell’s Theories of Media class students, in a gallery at the Smart Museum of the University of Chicago. Photo: Saul Rosenfield.

The typical museum experience is controlled. A pathway describes a route from one artwork to another, each illustrated by its label and narrated by an audio tour. However, three exhibitions currently on view in Chicago invite the visitor to engage in a less predictable process. At the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art, visual-culture scholar W.J.T. Mitchell and the students of his “Theories of[.....]

Time After Time: “The Clock” at SFMOMA

Christian Marclay, video still from The Clock, 2010; single-channel video with stereo sound, 24 hours; White Cube Mason’s Yard, London, October 15–November 13, 2010; courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, and White Cube, London. Photo: Todd-White Photography; © Christian Marclay. The White Cube gallery arrangement is slightly different from the SFMOMA arrangement I describe.

Everyone I know who saw Christian Marclay’s Clock raved about it. The 24-hour sequence of film clips, most with a view of a clock face, is more action-packed than I’d imagined it would be. The focus is as much on the events surrounding the passage of time as on the instruments we use to measure that passage. In this way, The Clock isn’t about clocks[.....]

#Hashtags: No Wrong Way In, No Wrong Way Out

In contemporary U.S. culture, abstract art is difficult for many to grasp because it so completely defeats the imposition of language on art that cultural meaning falls away. If abstract art asserts meaning at all, it does so elliptically, circling around, not toward, the identifiable expression of objects, events, people, experiences, emotions, or ideas that representational art depicts. In a sense, then, abstract art is[.....]

#Hashtags: Going Up at SFMOMA

Cindy Sherman, Untitled #92, 1981; chromogenic color print; 24 x 47 15/16" (61 x 121.9 cm); The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Fellows of Photography Fund; ©2012 Cindy Sherman.

There are so many things to look at in a museum–but that doesn’t mean that art doesn’t exist in unplanned and accidental encounters. Today #Hashtags reprints one of our favorite essays from last year, on the topic of uncurated looking. It was miraculous to me, only because I had never seen the space behind the doors. Yet, it was shameful, as if I had seen[.....]

Jay DeFeo: Spatial Relations

If you back your way into the Jay DeFeo exhibition at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, you’ll discover, as I did, a group of five oil paintings in the final gallery. The works are small by today’s standards of monumentality and smaller still by the standards of DeFeo’s most famous work, The Rose. The Rose, occupying its own alcove earlier in the show, is[.....]

#museumpractices: The Museum on My Mind, Part IV

Wall labels. Curatorial text. Titles (or un-titles, as the case may be). At what point do the words surrounding an artwork serve the work, and at what point do they disrupt it? This week #Hashtags wraps up Rob Mark’s “The Museum On My Mind,” a meditation on the role of museum commentary and what it means to “know” a piece of art. For refreshers, see[.....]