Does the installation in the middle of this photo I took late last week remind you of Vincent Van Gogh’s ear, Faithful Reader? I must confess that the thought never occurred to me, though plainly it had for Berlin-based art duo Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset.
You might accuse me of being an artistic philistine. But wait! I can explain! You see “Van Gogh’s Ear” in this photo up front, with that helpful headline. But I saw it in Rockefeller Center from behind—and after I had heard that the female stars of the Ghostbusters remake had been seen in the vicinity of my building in the area.
My first thought, then, was: Oh, this must be some sort of promotion for the new movie. This must be the creature that slimed Bill Murray, and is now getting rid to do the same thing to Kristen Wiig. Little did I know that it was a sculpture in the form of a swimming pool set upright.
See how impressionable people can be? I’m afraid that my imagination was running in a direction that the artists didn’t foresee.
Fortunately, they have been around to set me—and perhaps a few others—straight. “The title Van Gogh’s Ear plays on the mythological versus the ordinary,” Elmgreen and Dragset are quoted in a press release on the Web site for the Public Art Fund. “We thought it was a perfect name for a swimming pool of this shape. It opens up the possibility for a different perception of the form itself. And like the myth of Van Gogh cutting off his ear in despair, the dislocated pool will hopefully make people wonder ‘why?’, and pursue their own reasoning behind this inexplicable scenario.”
Well, okay. Thanks for clarifying that.
Next, this exhibition goes to China. One can only imagine how they will view it.