Inside the Whale

September 10, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — noahsimblist @ 10:15 am


I had a 7-hour layover in Paris so I decided to go to the Pompidou to get a quick art fix before heading off to Tel Aviv. The show there right now is Le Mouvement des images.


It’s broken up into thematic sections like PROJECTION, MONTAGE, DEFILEMENT, SERIALITY, TEMPORAILY, etc. Right off the bat, after a room of Judd, Warhol, and the Beckers was a beautiful slide show by Nan Goldin.


With a mournful score by Bjork that approaches prayer, images of couples – gay, straight, some with children, some without – some younger, some older, in moments of intimacy. Close shots of sex, bathing, a sense of home and the everyday…But Goldin is not a voyeur here, and by implication, seeing them as she does, neither are we.

Each subject’s gaze switches from interiority to exterior confrontation or blank acceptance of our look. We are given first names and are brought in as if we know them, as if we have walked through their door a thousand times. Nakedness is treated casually but with respect – a respect defined by the intimacy that each individual accords to themselves, their lover, their child.

One could think that images of sex and nakedness could be intended to shock or challenge. But these images are factual, not as cold scientific records, nor as over-Romanticized schlock – they are real in their warmth and in their humor.

There were other great pieces by Richard Serra, Stan Brackhage, and Bruce Nauman. Nauman’s “Mapping the Studio” was installed – a version of the same piece that I’d seen in DIA Chelsea and then DIA Beacon. I was taken by the contrast between his conceptualism and Goldin’s piece. They are both striving toward some sense of the real, But for Nauman, a mouse crossing the floor or a moth flitting by after 3 minutes of silence and stillness provide the drama of this other intimate space – the artist’s studio.

Anyway, there was much more to talk about from the inclusion of paintings, drawings and sculpture in relation to film and video, the participation of non-Blue Chip artists as compared with the Guggenheim show “Moving Pictures” a few years back. For myself, I left thinking about Nauman’s video “Walking in an exaggerated manor around a square.” Some oblique connection to my relationship to the cube, to measurement, and the messy realities of politics, religion and personal histories that flood its boundaries.



  1. WOW! What a nice show to stumble on in Paris. I saw Margaret last night at the opening for a brief moment. Hope you are well out there.


    Comment by Rachel Cook — September 10, 2006 @ 12:29 pm

  2. I feel relieved for you that your trip has begun. Savor it. DId you see AC?

    Comment by Katie Taber — September 13, 2006 @ 7:49 pm

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