By Jeff Siemers, Cohort ’13
Gallery visits are one of the great components of IDSVA’s residencies. During the New York City residency, students spend the mornings presenting their research and their understanding of the role of the artist-philosopher, and in the afternoons they are able to visit some of the best museums in the world.
One of the museums we visited was the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The exhibition on display was ZERO: Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s-60s. This exhibition highlighted the German artist group named ZERO (which also expanded to other artists from Europe, Japan, and North and South America) that displayed works extending from painting to sculpture. The majority of the pieces in the exhibition were monochromatic works with clean lines, void of much expression. As the museum text explains: “ZERO explores the establishment of new definitions of painting; the exploration of the themes of light, movement and space; the interrogation of the relationship between nature, technology, and humankind; and the production of live actions or demonstrations.” This exploration was well served being displayed in such a superb space.
The pieces exhibited in Zero worked in harmony within the context of the Guggenheim’s architectural aesthetic. It was oftentimes possible to see the works across the museum as one would spiral up the exhibition space designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It was inspiring to experience these works in such a well-designed space as the Guggenheim. A significant component of the building for IDSVA students is perhaps an often-overlooked seal at the main entrance of the Guggenheim. On this seal is a quote from Aristophanes: “Let each man exercise the art he knows.” IDSVA provides students the opportunity to expand this knowledge. Students that accept the challenge of this opportunity not only embark on an academically rigorous exploration of philosophy but also they see, touch and experience the viewing of art with a refined and expanded viewpoint. Pack a New York City residency with visits to the Met, MOMA, Chelsea, PACE, and other galleries and one is bound to increase the amount of art that is experienced.