Spirals and the new shamanism


Post by Libby and Roberta

Spirals were a repeating theme in Energy Yes! the new installation of contemporary art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The installation marks Curator Carlos Basualdo‘s debut in the Gisela and Dennis Alter Gallery (176).

Included are spirals from Bruce Nauman — in neon and on paper (see photo), Cuban artist Jose Bedia, Mexican self-taught artist Martin Ramirez. The only spiral missing is a Smithson spiral jetty. Globes from Thomas Hirschhorn can spin in real space.

We’d like to say we imagine Joseph Beuys orbitting the planet right now. And his eyes in the Andy Warhol silkscreen portrait of him in this installation are definitely doing wheelies.

Speaking of Warhol, his inclusion here with his camo-self portrait (Camouflage Self Portrait) is right on target. Warhol was a charismatic, shamanistic leader with a posse.

The installation is wonderful at bringing together unexpected concordances between disparate artists from around the world and spanning the 20th and 21st centuries.

The installation will formally open April 8. Because it’s an installation and not an exhibition there is no opening reception.

See previous posts for more on Energy Yes! here, here, here and here.


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