Rivane Neuenschwander Gives Us Art We Can Wear

THE DAILY PIC: In 'Take Me (I'm Yours)' at the Jewish Museum, Neuenschwander's labels make you one with art.

THE DAILY PIC (#1667): Yesterday, I published a piece about jewelry that functions as conceptual art. And right after that, visiting the show called “Take Me (I’m Yours)” at the Jewish Museum in New York, I was confronted with conceptual art that functions as jewelry.

Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander offered up a bunch of not-quite-random words woven into little strips of ribbon, like the kind companies use to sew their brand names into clothes. As with all the works in the JewMu show – it’s the exhibition’s lovely conceit – Neuenschwander’s word-labels are meant to be taken home. But rather than simply adding to the mess of trinkets at the back of some drawer, Neuenschwander’s tags come with safety pins that let them be worn on the body, jewelry-wise. And as I argued yesterday, that gives them the power to be more fully integrated into our lives than other works of art tend to be.

One reading of Neuenschwander’s piece has her making almost exactly that argument. Her labels, inscribed with pregnant words such as “dialectic,” “fraud” and “hungry,” stand for all the different kinds of suggestive content that art can carry, and the way that content tends to accumulate in drifts of meaning, rather than sitting chained together into propositions. Neuenschwander’s words therefore work as distillations (as metonyms) for the entire concept of art. By pinning one on, you are truly bringing art – all of art – into your life. (Photos by Lucy Hogg)


For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

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