In the Jewish Museum’s latest art happening titled Take Me (I’m Yours), Alex Israel’s Self-Portrait pin series is to be placed on the viewer’s lapel, Daniel Spoerri’s Eat Art Happening is sugar paste meant to be eaten, and Christian Boltanski’s Dispersion is an installation of used clothes to be picked out and worn. The show features works by a diverse group of 42 artists, including Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Yoko Ono, Sondra Perry and Jibade-Khalil Huffman whose small scale sculptures, installations, and prints encourage visitors to take the art for free.
Take Me (I’m Yours) is meant to instantly turn some visitors into art collectors. “This exhibition questions the very core of what a museum is,” Jens Hoffmann, the exhibition co-curator tells The Creators Project. “One of the things that interested me about this exhibition is the idea of democratization—everybody no matter where they are coming from could get a work of art.” He says, “You could own a Gilbert & George, you could own a Christian Boltanski, and a number of other artists that are of course extremely valuable and cost a lot in the market.”
First concepted in 1995 at the Serpentine Galleries in London by curator Hans Ulrich Obrist and artist Christian Boltanski, Take Me (I’m Yours) featured 12 artists including Gilbert & George and Lawrence Weiner. The exhibition then was a major showing of, what the French art critic Nicolas Bourriaud termed in the 90s as relational aesthetics. Bourriaud wrote that relational art is “a set of artistic practices which take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than an independent and private space.”
Today, the works on display at the Jewish Museum operate as both utilitarian objects and art. As a curator, Hoffmann has recreated a historical happening and hopes to empty the entire gallery of art. The exhibit remakes the museum’s second floor galleries, lobby, and book shop, into democratic spaces for the public to participate, touch, and ultimately take home the objects on display. The exhibition presents a myriad of experiences that seek to challenge the politics of the art market, the relationship between art and the viewer, and the very definition of art itself.
“In a way, Take Me (I’m Yours) is a way of taking a historically important exhibition and restaging it,” says Hoffmann. “I always wanted to make sure I had mass appeal but that was intelligent at the same time,” says the curator. “Take Me (I’m Yours) is a really good example of that because on the one hand, it’s playful. You can take things away and you can curate your own little collection of artists. But at the same time, it goes to the core of what a museum is because the museum here has 30,000 objects and we don’t give them away. We store them, we take care of them, and we interpret them.” Hoffmann adds, “But what if we would just give it all away?”
Take Me (I’m Yours) continues through February 5 at the Jewish Museum. Click here, for more information.