More Love at the Ackland: Art, Politics and Sharing Since the 1990s

mortarandpestle

Something beautiful is happening at the Ackland Art Museum today: the much-anticipated More Love: Art, Politics and Sharing Since the 1990s exhibit is opening. Featuring art by Yoko Ono, Louise Bourgeois, Tracy Emin and Felix Gonzalez-Torres (among many fantastically talented others), the exhibit is a real exploration into different kinds of love and its expression.

The idea of sharing, of externalizing the internal, is central to the More Love exhibit. While it’s about sharing in the traditional sense, it also discusses the idea of sharing in the context of new technology and breaking the boundaries of time and space.

The above image incorporates two fantastic pieces in the show. The piece of candy is a part of Dario Robleto’s Untitled piece from 1972. In every installation of Robleto’s piece through the years, a pile of candy is built and viewers are invited to take a piece as they pass. The second piece is the photograph in the background, Janine Antoni’s Mortar and Pestle (1996, chromogenic print). In the photo, the artist is licking her husband’s eyeball. It’s borderline inappropriate and mildly transgressive, visceral and endlessly compelling. The show involves many pieces like these, which are multidimensional in concept and bold in their expressiveness.

I had the chance to talk to Claire Schneider, the consulting curator for the show, about the overall vision. “In the 1960s, it was all about love as commonality,” she said. “In the 2000s, it became love as individuality. Now it’s all about coming back together with our differences.”

Her insight informs the entire show, from the pieces chosen to the overall orchestration of the viewing experience.

She said she wanted to explore the contemporary thought about love, including its social justice elements, without the cheap sentimentality of most pop culture’s expressions of love.

“This is all conceptual art about emotion,” Schneider said.

I was so fond of so many of the pieces; I’ll certainly return. I especially loved Yoko Ono’s piece, “Time To Tell Your Love,” a collection of under-lit prisms that threw light all across the walls. While supplies last, viewers can have a picture taken of themselves expressing their love, and they’ll receive a prism in return. I got one! (I also accidentally broke my first one. Typical.)

yoko ono

Yoko Ono’s Time To Tell Your Love, glass prisms and tower, light. 

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I also loved Dario Robleto’s Coated Love Letters, which are love letters he’d saved over the years, put into pill form. It’s honest, taking the viewer back to the middle school roots of their lovingness.

dario

This show is honestly worth a visit, or 20. I’m still working on how to express it appropriately. I’ve been to a lot of exhibits, but this one is really special.

I can still remember what it felt like to have Julian Schwartz’ Affirmations, a sound installation, murmur over me. When you find the perfect spot on the floor, it sound like 72 people are whispering their answers to the question, “What could someone say to you that would make you feel completely loved (acknowledged, understood, respected, cared for, attractive, embraced, supported, safe, cherished…)?” right into your ears. It was entrancing. Receiving intangible hugs from strangers is a beautiful experience.

Go. You’ll be glad you did.

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Hie thee hence, and laissez les bon temps rouler,

the girl

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