Thursday, June 6, 2013

Lightweight: Inside This Week's Art Story

Posted By on Thu, Jun 6, 2013 at 6:30 AM

Field of Light, Bruce Munro
  • "Field of Light," Bruce Munro

In this week's Scene, I review what I think will be the blockbuster art exhibit of the Summer — and I name a few of its problems. First: If you're expecting Great Art you're going to miss out on all the fun. This exhibit is candy, and should be enjoyed as just that.

Cheekwood's 2013 answer to the 2011 Chihuly blockbuster is over the top and glamorous, and will make you feel like you're in your own private version of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" video. Make no mistake: Bruce Munro's Light is not good art. It is, however, great entertainment.

Light is spectacle. At the opening on May 24, an artist friend said it reminded him of shopping at Walgreens at night, and in the same breath professed his love for it. Another friend said it reminded him of Bonnaroo's corny, self-important aesthetic, but he's already planning a return visit. Light is fun. It's like a James Cameron movie — it won't change the world, but it will probably make a lot more money than a film by Lars von Trier. It's art for the masses, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Light Reservation, Bruce Munro
  • "Light Reservation," Bruce Munro

Another perhaps more troubling issue: Munro's representation of Native American culture.

"Light Reservation" is a cluster of DayGlo teepees made from fluorescent tubes that blink on and off like the visual effects at a dubstep concert or a display at American Apparel. It is a shocking anomaly in an otherwise benign exhibition, and Munro's treatment of Native American imagery as if it is not a living and breathing culture is difficult to understand.

Read the whole review here, and let me know whether you agree or disagree.

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