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Michael Asher
Santa Monica Museum of Art
Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90404
January 26, 2008 - April 12, 2008


A Look at Michael Asher
by Nico Machida


Since the 1960s, Michael Asher has made it his project to variously actualize the critical, conceptual, and revisionist methods of museology. Rather than add to the mass of art production, he takes that mass itself, and the cultures that have formed around it, as a kind of abstract material—to be commented upon, rearranged, recast. Here, in the straightforward and unmonumental spaces of the Santa Monica Museum of Art, Asher has brought his critical eye to a curatorial project remarkable not only for its spare intelligence, but also for its sheer clarity of vision.

His subject is the history of the Museum itself—which, as a kunsthalle, has no collection of objects for him to array. In place of such objects Asher has installed an interlocking system of skeletal wood and metal walls, every temporary architectural scenario constructed in this space since its opening in 1998. The resultant meta-architecture is unaccommodating, labyrinthine, and prison-like. Out of a spatial language primed on clarity of presentation and circulation Asher has created an anti-museum that nonetheless retains the most essential elements of museological method.

- Nico Machida

 

(*Images, from top to bottom:  Michael Asher, Michael Asher, January 26 - April12, 2008; Installation View, 2008, Photograph: Bruce Morr, Courtesy of the artist and Santa Monica Museum of Art.  Michael Asher, Michael Asher, January 26 - April12, 2008; Installation View, 2008, Photograph: Bruce Morr, Courtesy of the artist and Santa Monica Museum of Art.  Michael Asher, Michael Asher, January 26 - April12, 2008; Installation View, 2008, Photograph: Bruce Morr, Courtesy of the artist and Santa Monica Museum of Art.)



Posted by Nico Machida on 2/17/08

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