At MoMA, Rivane Neuenschwander and Cao Guimaraes Show Art by Ants

THE DAILY PIC: Are insects hunting for sparkle the same as us looking at art?



THE DAILY PIC: The new rehang of the contemporary galleries at the Museum of Modern Art in New York tends to steer clear of spectacle and crowd-pleasing effects – but I’m glad to say that curators have made one exception. They are showing an irresistible video called Ash Wednesday: Epilogue, by Rivane Neuenschwander and Cao Guimaraes. (Click on my image to watch a clip.)

As per this still, the video consists of nothing more than a bunch of ants on the forest floor, filmed as they make a desperate grab for the colored confetti that the artists have sprinkled among them. (Backstory: The insects look as though they’re after the sparkle, but the paper dots came smeared with smelly food.)

There’s no way not to read the ants’ efforts as a metaphor for our human greed, and the confetti as the filthy lucre we all scramble after. Or maybe we should imagine the tables getting turned: In some ant-world museum, they might watch a video of us grabbing at MoMA’s cultural offerings. (© 2015 Rivane Neuenschwander, courtesy the artist and Galeria Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London)

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