‘Out of Sight! Art of the Senses’ changes how you think of art

The Albright-Knox Art gallery’s experiential modern art exhibit “Out of Sight! Art of the Senses” seems like it’s geared toward “millennials who prefer experiences over things.”  

Curated by Peggy Pierce Elfvin, Janne Sirén, Joe Lin-Hill and Cathleen Chaffee, “Out of Sight! Art of the Senses” features contemporary art you can not just see, but also touch, smell, feel or taste.

The exhibit opens with Feliz Gonzalez-Torres’ “Untitled (Water)”  — a curtain of aqua-blue and clear beads hung from wall to wall. Torres intended for the viewer to interact with this work by either running their fingers along the beads to feel the “water” or walk through the beads to get to the other side.

Many walked around the work, but those who walked through it found Lucas Samaras’ “Mirrored Room” (1966) — which is exactly what it sounds like, a cube of mirrors which contains only a desk and chair. Since it’s a square room made up of 300 mirrored surfaces on wood, it seems much bigger than it is — almost infinite.

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“Mirrored Room” by Lucas Samaras. (Photo by Qina Liu)

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The subject(s) change depending on who’s in the room and where they are in that space. It’s also the perfect place for the most epic “Matrix” mirror selfie you’ve ever taken.

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All the works in this exhibit encourage you to interact with them in some way. Korean artist Do Ho Suh built a life-size polyester-made replica of the corridor to his old apartment and invited viewers to walk through his past.

Ernesto Neto’s “SoundWay” (2012), features this giant crochet blanket suspended in mid-air to form a tunnel of waves. Bells and shells form the tassels of this blanket, but they don’t make sound without a subject. As you experience this piece, run their fingers through the blanket so the bells and shells clank together — forming the melodic and meditative “sound wave.”

One of the coolest and perhaps scariest pieces in this exhibit (depending on how much you like actually talking to people) is Rirkrit Tiravanija’s work — a orange tent where its attendants (whether friends or strangers) are encouraged to sit for tea and conversation.

Works like these challenge how you think of art — not just as something pleasing or unpleasing to the eye — but also as space, experiences and memories that could last lifetimes.

“Out of Sight! Art of the Senses” was organized by Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director Janne Sirén, Deputy Director Joe Lin-Hill and Chief Curator Cathleen Chaffee. The exhibit is displayed from Nov. 4, 2017 to Jan. 28, 2018 at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, N.Y. 

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