16 Sep

Oh USA pavilion, USA pavilion, USA pavilion. A man on a running machine on the treads of a capsized tank… I’ll admit that you don’t see this kind of thing every day, not in my neighbourhood anyway, but who gives a shit? It’s called ‘Track and Field.’ Hilarious. There’s a statue on its side in a tanning machine, a bodybag in a business class plane seat, an ATM set into the wood of a churchy-looking pipe organ. Cool joke, bro. What’s the opposite of LOL?

Like US culture and society in general, the USA’s exhibition is belligerently and defiantly banal. The only momentary interest comes courtesy of a little girl who takes it upon herself to cavort in front of a tedious video projection, thereby blocking it from everyone else’s view. She got a round of applause.

The pavilion’s explanatory handout mostly avoids artspeak silliness but swings instead to an opposite and equally absurd, unhelpful tone of constipated restraint. Fully one side of closely set type on an A5 sheet simply describes factually what visitors can see in front of them with their own eyes if they’re in the place from which they received said handout in the first place… and that’s exactly where they are, seeing these things with their own eyes. Such an “explanation” would only be a revelation to somebody who had no idea what tanks, statues, athletes, plane seats and other generic categories of objects are. As far as I know there aren’t many of those people outside of an Oliver Sacks book.

Perhaps somebody came to the wise conclusion that there’s nothing constructive or enlightening anybody can say about a thing so crass and beyond satire as a statue representing Freedom jammed sideways into a sun bed. It’s a mystery what connection there is, if any, between the artists being based in Puerto Rico and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Both of these facts are repeatedly and prominently flagged as if they’re particularly significant.


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