Thursday, September 22, 2011

Swiss Institute: Wooster between Grand and Canal

The Swiss Institute of Contemporary Art recently moved (I happened to try to visit when they were in the midst of packing) to a new location on Wooster.  While obviously much smaller, the institute has a brightly-lit lofty exhibition space that is extremely well-suited to displaying large-scale contemporary art very much like the Dia:Beacon.  Also unlike the Dia: Beacon, it is absolutely simple to visit (take the N/R/Q/6 or E subways to Canal and walk 5-10 minutes).

The current exhibition includes a collection of "Books on Books" that seems to take a humorous look at collections (see the book on shelves and on Ian Fleming's "James Bond: Dr. No" at right).  There was also a centerfold of an innocent Marilyn Monroe-esque photo from an old Playboy anthology (Volume XLI, No. 1, 1994) called "Barbara Bloom" (the then Director of Daytime Programming for the West Coast for ABC). The collection looks at books as memories or documentation, as images themselves, and as a representation of artwork.

The larger loft-like exhibition space painted all white and lit by skylights (see left) has works by Pamela Rosenkranz and Nikolas Gambaroff.  I'm not sure I understand the reason for it, but the exhibition is called "This Is Not My Color/The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People." 

I also don't understand how the titles of the pieces are related to the actual works, but then again, maybe I don't need to.  They were innovative and creative pieces that made one question the origins of the works.  One in particular called, "Synergize" by Nikolas Gambaroff had a pattern that had a rhythm, energy and vibrancy (see right).  The mix of newsprint on canvas with acrylic glass, wood, and metal clamps stood tall and was somehow pleasingly balanced. 

The exhibits change from time to time so if you happen to be in the SoHo neighborhood on the days and times it is open for visitors (Wed-Sun, noon-6pm) then you should consider visiting (it's free).  Their mission of sharing Swiss (European) art and culture with Americans would then be accomplished, and you'll likely leave at least a little more enriched than when you entered.

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