A curatorial tour scheduled for 1:30 on Saturday afternoon May 24, 2014 at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation at 3716 Washington Boulevard in St. Louis is something worth doing, especially if the facility, designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect Tadao Ando is scheduled to be closing for six months while exhibition space is expanded and programming is orchestrated for reopening in the Spring of 2015.
The curator giving the tour offers an overviews of the exhibition Art of Its Own Making as one that explores the moments when artists relinquish control and allow materials to evolve of their own volition. Beginning with three works by Hans Haacke, Rovert Morris and Tony Conrad, respectively, the small group 15 assembled for the tour get a sense of the showing. Condensation Wall (63/66) is a plexiglass box with distilled water by Haacke, Yellow Movie (1973) is house paint on photo paper, and Box with Sound of Its Own Making (1961) includes digital recordings made of the sounds of the artist making a tidy wooden box cube. The condensation, yellowing of house paint and sounds of building all are a nod a recognition of changes as art evolves.
The touring group includes a mother/daughter making a road trip to see the Tadao Ando building, a couple from Montreal, a young couple (he with a t-shirt from the Chess Museum), an artist in jeans and a t-shirt, and four other young art fans and me. As the tour takes us to Edith Dekyndt’s Ground Control (2008), a Polypropylene ball filled with helium that occupies its own space in a small gallery room and finally Zen for Film (1964) a projector runnin a blank film loop. The curatorial tour comes to a close as discussion of the ephemeral, transitory and evolution of art percolates.
Meanwhile the Pulitzer is anchored with three pieces worth revisiting. Scott Burton’s Rock Settee (88-90) beautifully displayed in the foreground of the reflecting pond, Ellsworth Kelly’s Blue Black (2000) painted panels inside and the always stunning sculpture Richard Serra. Joe (1999) proudly invites visitors into its spiral of COR-TEN steel in the courtyard.
So you leave such an experience wondering about the role of art, the interface of museum curators and artists and the public appreciation of the work. But maybe a greater understanding of the evolution of art of its own making, artists and the world of art too.