Ascending the Guggenheim


After finishing up a dim sum brunch with my family on Sunday morning in Manhattan I was given a ticket to see Doug Wheeler’s installation: PSAD Synthetic Desert III. The exhibit is a ten minute expierence with five other people. The tickets were non-refundable and could not be used for another time. We had 15 minutes and were 10 blocks away. Arriving at the Guggenheim with five minutes to go, my cousin Quinn and I began to run. Ascending all six floors, running the olympic track equivalent of art, I saw Kandinsky’s and Calder’s work fly past me in a flurry of colors. We managed to make it five an a half floors before someone yelled at us, and we made the exhibition in the nick of time.

I caught my breath and took off my jacket, jewelry, and shoes; a requirement of the exhibit was to limit as much noise as possible. The guide instructed us that we were to limit our movement, remain absolutely silent, and finally under no circumstances could we touch anything in the room. We followed her through two passageways that drew us farther and farther into silence. Entering a small room and platform to sit, I was given ten minutes to reflect and meditate in the space. Foam pyramids blanketed the majority of the floor and three of the four walls. It was a dimply lit room. I expected a light show, but the light in the room remained constant. Below is a photo courtesy of The Guggenheim Museum.


I spent my time finding new perspectives. Playing with my own eyes horizon, I changed the scale, shadow, and depth of the piece. I felt an immense sense of  self-awareness within the room. The room was nothing more, no theatrics, just a moment to sit with yourself in silence. I appreciated the moment of stillness amongst a chaotic weekend.

I walked out of the exhibit with a renewed perspective of my own ability to control life. By changing the perspective and tools I use to examine an object, such as pace, perspective, angle, lighting, and scale. I thought about my own work and how I choose to represent an object. Perspective perpetually changes meaning. I appreciated the chance to slow down and reexamine how I look at the world.


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