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Artist Olafur Eliasson’s exhibitions are all about you. Not only do they provide a heightened sense of self, but they also literally would not be complete without you. Eliasson’s work is all about interaction. His installations call you to participate. Former senior curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Madeleine Grynsztejn calls Eliasson “an artist who wants to expose how wonder is made”.


I saw Eliasson’s “Take Your Time” installation at the Dallas Museum of Art close to two years ago. It is easily the most unique collection of art I have ever seen.

The first piece of work encountered is an electric fan hanging on a cord from the ceiling, using its own moving blades to propel it across the room. The cord swings just above head level – low enough to alarm you.

The fan’s ever-changing, unpredictable arcs provide a striking metaphor for perception in motion. Eliasson engages in an ongoing exploration of subjectivity, reflection, and the fluid boundary between nature and culture, revealing the degree to which reality is constructed and helping us to reflect more critically on our experience of it.” ~Roxana Marcoci and Klaus Biesenbach

Eliasson enables you to experience art with all of your senses, just as you would in nature. His work creates a social sphere. You are not just standing in front of a work of art. You are inside the work. You are actively engaged. Looking becomes an experience.

In “Room for one colour,” monofrequency lights eliminate every wavelength except yellow. Everyone in the room appears colorless. The white walls of the room next to you appear blue, due to an involuntary neurological response.

My favorite of Eliasson’s installations is called “Beauty”. It is an installation that can be easily missed if you do not take your time and explore the collection. One room in the collection has about 5 black squares on its walls. I approached one of the squares and noticed a muggy smell. I reached out my hand and discovered that this was not just another square on the wall — it was a dark, hidden tunnel leading into another room. As I followed the tunnel into the room, the smell became more pungent and I began to see a soft light. “Beauty” features a spotlight shining on a curtain of fine mist in an otherwise darkened room, producing a gossamer rainbow visible from certain angles. The rainbow looks different to all who see it. The hose creating the mist is plain to see.

Eliasson separates himself from other artists doing similar installations because he exposes the mechanisms by which the effects are produced. This does not make the work any less magnificent. You become more conscious of more aspects of yourself and you become aware of how it is that you are seeing. Olafur Eliasson reminds us to participate in our world. Or not. I think Eliasson just wants us to be a little more aware of ourselves.


Image courtesy Kanji Ishii

I had the pleasure of visiting the Museum of Modern Art in NYC a couple of weeks ago, and I was blown away by the number of amazing exhibitions. Looking at Music 3.0 is the third in a series of exhibitions exploring the influence of music on contemporary art practices and focuses on New York in the 1980s and 1990s. I highly suggest you check it out for yourself; you have until June 6 to do so. What’s really cool about it is that it inspires the idea of looking at music, rather than just listening to it.

The exhibit showcases album art, lyrics, music videos, and works of contemporary art inspired by musical pieces. There is a big focus on the boom of hip-hop and the underground scene, the feminist movement and AIDS activism, as well as the birth of remix culture. has a great article about the exhibition that you can read HERE.

One particular music video featured in the exhibit has a very special place in my heart. The video for “Buddy Holly” was directed by Spike Jonze and portrays Weezer performing at the original Arnold’s Drive-In diner from the popular 70s TV show Happy Days. The video combines contemporary footage of the band with clips from the show. 

I found Weezer’s Blue Album in my dad’s CD case when I was in 8th grade, and I instantly fell in love.  I had been perusing my dad’s music collection, and it was the most contemporary album I found. My father was killed in a car accident in 1995, and the Blue Album debuted in May 1994. I latched on to Weezer in 8th grade, especially the Blue Album and Pinkerton, and began to enjoy the music in place of my dad.

Here’s the music video for “Buddy Holly” by Weezer. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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