Anyway, featured in this particular white box on the second floor (Contemporary Art from 1960 to the Present) the walls were lined with deadpan portraits by Dutch photographer Rineke Dijkstra, whose fame (soon to have a Guggenheim retrospective) I’ve never understood. Really, I’d rather look at drywall. There was more to the exhibition, but what it was I can no longer remember, because as my eyes darted from object to object, searching for something satisfying to look at, I became more and more upset as I realized that my life was clearly worthless because I’d chosen to devote it to a field in which I had absolutely no interest. Even the next gallery with its exquisite de Koonings and Pollocks failed to console me, as they represented a glorious past now lost. And if I, a presumed professional, am alienated, what must these dazed-looking tourists feel like, who not only spent time waiting in line but actual money ($18 apiece) to get in? “I just think I don’t know enough,” is what a perfectly intelligent friend said to me. Is this the purpose of museums and art? To make people feel bad about themselves?
Gehry Bandshell, Millennium Park, Chicago
*Art and Objecthood, 1967.