Thursday, September 11, 2014

visiting ARoS - the care and feeding of the teenage soul

we took five teenagers to modern art museum ARoS in århus on sunday. it was, in some ways, a long day, but it was also a fun day. they have so much energy and so much to talk about, it is both refreshing and exhausting.

ARoS is a relatively new modern art museum, sort of jylland's answer to the fabulous and much more well-established louisiana near copenhagen. but because it lacks the history of that wonderful place, it struck me as trying too hard in some ways. that doesn't mean i didn't enjoy it, but it most definitely wasn't louisiana.

ron meuck's boy is probably the most striking and significant piece in their permanent collection. it truly is enormous and yet so detailed and oddly lifelike. quite disruptive to the senses, actually. but then most art that's worthwhile is.

there was a special exhibition featuring the work of video artist jesper just. i liked this projection onto the floor, enabling you to walk directly on the exhibit. it was wet pavement without getting wet.

this crazy eyeball lampshade was part of the 9 rooms exhibit. you could sit down in a kind of living room and watch an ever-changing screen. the colors changed around you and it was somehow oddly surreal. i imagine if you were tripping, it would have been, well, pretty trippy.

i probably enjoyed the out of the darkness exhibition on the 6th floor best. mostly because i separated from the kids and went through it on my own. tho' there were others, i somehow had it mostly to myself as i walked through and i'll admit i like it best like that. this photo doesn't do it justice, but there was something quite powerful about walking down this darkened hallway with big fans turning slowly above. it felt dramatic and like i was contributing to the art itself through the act of walking down the hallway.

out of the darkness played with the notions of traditional ways of exhibiting art, even while it also engaged them by having a strict entrance and exit and only one way through, forcing you to follow a particular, pre-determined path. at one point, you come to a room that seems a bit like a warehouse for storing art, but instead it was exhibition space, featuring multiple andy warhols and bjørn nørgaard's jars of chopped up horse, among many other pieces, rather casually displayed and labeled with a dyno labler. (this may be one of the spaces that struck me as trying too hard.)

i would like to have studied this piece by danish artist tal r for much longer. layers upon layers of thoughts and sketches and inspiration.

surely the best part of ARoS is olafur eliasson's rainbow panorama on the roof - you look out upon the city of århus through literally (in some spots) rose-colored glasses.

i don't know what the kids will remember. they were quite engaged and excited to see contemporary american artist wes lang (more about that in another post), who was there in person, as it was the closing day of his show. they may have been chatting about all of their ordinary things like schools and friends and dramas, but doing so in the presence of art must surely be good for them on some deeper level.

there were a couple of floors that we didn't even get to, so we'll have to go back again. even tho' it's no lousiana, it's still definitely worth another visit and making sure they experience art is surely an essential ingredient in the care and feeding of the teenage soul.

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