I like it when museums show off. Sure the big, traveling exhibits are often the draw for going to a museum, but it’s great when a place takes pride in its own collection. That’s why I like Passageworks: Contemporary Art from the Collection, on view now at SFMOMA. This is the museum proudly proclaiming that it has the curators, the building, and the money to create a first-rate contemporary art collection.
Here are two works that for me were nostalgic. Why? Because both artists were part of the very first big show from a museum collection that I experienced—that was at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, a long time ago.
Robert Smithson, whose most famous work is right here in Utah, was featured with Nonsite (Esson Soil and Mirrors). This work from 1969 is just what it claims to be, mirror and soil. But it begs for interaction.
Who doesn’t like Felix Gonzales-Torres? And few of his works are as intoxicating as Untitled (Golden), a 1995 work that consists of “strands of beads and hanging device.” Sure it’s just a giant bead current—but it’s one damn good bead curtain.
The other thing I like about shows from museum collections; they almost always allow photography (no flash of course). So here are a few photos from our visit.
Passageworks is on display through January 19, 2009.