see it: haunted at the guggenheim

see it

I've been dying to see the Haunted exhibit at the Guggenheim, and I finally went! The exhibit is displayed throughout the Guggenheim's rotunda gallery. As you walk through, gazing at photos that capture the past with surrealism and gritty reality, a voice rises up through the hollow rotunda. An audio piece of the exhibit, Shallow Sea by Susan Philipsz, is a recording of her singing. It plays every ten minutes, and the rotunda's open layout lends an echoing, eerie quality to Susan's voice. It's hair-raising.

One of the first pieces I saw was Andy Warhol's Orange Disaster #5, which embodies the theme of the entire exhibit. Andy's electric chair is empty, but you're still left with the gristly reality that the chair has a past... the empty electric chair is haunted by those who have died in it.

And so the exhibit goes, with four themed sections, all displaying work that captures the past to bring it to present as if it's haunting us. Every space, person, object has a history; no matter how pleasant the history, its revival in the present can be unsettling. That's the feeling I got going through the exhibit, an oddly unsettled feeling. It's definitely one of the more evocative exhibits I've seen.

The Guggenheim museum itself is incredible, the architecture alone is worth the price of admission. I don't think this exhibit would be as powerful in another venue, the layout definitely lends itself to the art and its presentation. The exhibit runs through September 6. For hours and ticket information, click here.

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