Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Doris's crack - too much information?


I suggested in my piece on Doris's Salcedo's Shibboleth at Tate Modern here that occasionally curators' explanatory texts can kill a work stone dead. This is a particular problem where conceptual art is concerned.

Now Alice O'Keeffe has run with this theme in a good piece in the New Statesman entitled Information Overload.

Alice writes:
"Shibboleth is not "the experience of a third world person coming to the heart of Europe". It is a crack in the floor. Schoolchildren given that explanation would be quite right to feel confused by it and alienated from the work as a result. If, however, they were simply encouraged to explore how the crack made them feel, they might begin to appreciate the real value of Shibboleth and to understand the unique, mysterious power of an image."

Hear, hear.

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