The New Urs Fischer Show: Totally Wondrous and Genius!

The new Urs Fischer show, "Marguerite de Ponty," at The New Museum is worthy of the hype and anticipation. It is fantastic!!! I'll admit I am one of those people who have drunk the Urs Fischer Kool-Aid and think he is the best. So I walked into the show with ants in my pants -- I wanted to see everything. Now. And let me just say, Massimiliano Gioni, the curator of the exhibit who spoke briefly at the press preview, had me at "tromp l'oeil." I love tromp l'oeil! The three-story show is virtually a visual striptease where nothing is what it seems -- Alice in Wonderland for all the art nerds. Gigantic metal blobs that look like they are fake movie props made of styrofoam, and a deflated grand piano and lamp post à la Claes Oldenberg have all been cast in aluminum in a tediously painstaking and precise manner. Below on the third floor of the museum is the room that caused much hullabaloo in the media over the artist's impossible (and expensive) requests (can we lower the ceiling?). It seems sparse at a casual glance, but the entire floor from the walls to the ceilings are covered with photographic renditions of the room slightly off, so that it almost creates a shadowy effect (hard to explain in words, you have to go see it in person to get it.). The now ubiquitous and famous tongue ("Noisette") that pokes out of a carved hole in the wall is also on this floor. 

Finally, the second floor is the grand symphony of things -- matchbox, eclair, book, phone booth, high heel, Rodin's "Kiss" sculpture, etc. -- they all live in cubed forms lined up as though in a storage room. The experience of moving through this maze of mirrored chrome steel boxes is completely magical and non-sensical. With its multi-million dollar production cost and convoluted process, "Marquerite de Ponty" was not simple to make, nor is it easy look at. However, the genius of the show lies in the way Fischer created this world that both piques the curiosity of and transforms the nature of everything surrounding the viewer. The scale and the method of the show are preposterous and childlike. But ultimately, it is just incredibly fun to look at the absurd match-making of incongruous items (i.e. a fake butterfly on a real croissant). All these things are everything that just hits the sweet spot for me in contemporary art. So I am still drinking the Kool-Aid. I love Urs Fischer and I love this show.

The New Museum, 235 Bowery, through Feb. 7. Check the website for the special film screenings cruated by Urs Fischer.

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