On Thursday I hauled my parents down to the Museum of Contemporary Craft to see the long-awaited hotly-anticipated show by my friend Melissa. She is a brainiac and a half. She is also a conceptual artist who is allergic to documentation/archiving--so while over the past couple of years I have been well-versed in the verbal version of her work and ideas, this was the first time I got to actually experience her art.
The piece, called "Glass," is a huge 400-pound pane of engineered skyscraper glass, the same kind that the New York Times building is clad in. It's tipped horizontally here and perched atop a low wall. Since it's glass, and therefore technically liquid, you can see it already beginning to bend with its own weight.
It will bend and bend until it breaks--in large shards, apparently, this glass doesn't shatter--and then they will lift a new pane of glass there, above the remains of the old one, and then that one too will bend until it can't bear itself anymore. And so on. Minimalism + action.
There is a time-lapse webcam where you can view it, although the distance of the lens doesn't illustrate how enormous the piece of glass is, and how beautiful, and how much it has bent--a slender arch of space has already opened between glass and wall.
Afterward there was a panel with the artist and a few arts people. O, the panel. They were all superintelligent people, but the panel as a form seems to me innately hobbled and awkward. Has a panel ever been held in a room with a window? Just wondering. My dad (speaking of minimalist art, but I thought he meant panels, and it fit perfectly): "It's kind of like a Philip Glass piece, the same note over and over for six minutes, and then it changes to another note."
The museum was closed by the time the talk was finished and we were ushered out some back way. But the glass is there to see, through the huge windows (strange to look through them at it, and think how they too were viscous and could bend like that but for the engineering holding them upright.) Everyone clustered around the windows and peered in at it. "Like a patient, etherized upon a table."