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Robert Wilson’s Living Rooms: A walk from art to arty at Le Louvre Paris

Robert Wilson’s Living Rooms: A walk from art to arty at Le Louvre Paris

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Published by Joseph Nechvatal
An art Review of Robert Wilson’s Living Rooms at Le Louvre
An art Review of Robert Wilson’s Living Rooms at Le Louvre

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Published by: Joseph Nechvatal on Dec 17, 2013
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05/15/2014

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 Robert Wilson’s Living Rooms: A walk from art to arty(November 14, 2013 to February 17, 2014) Le Louvre Parishttp://www.louvre.fr/en/expositions/living-rooms
Published as:
 Robert Wilson Agog Over Gaga in Louvre Show
http://hyperallergic.com/98736/blowing-smoke-robert-wilson-agog-over-gaga-in-louvre-show/
I was lucky enough, and I am old enough, to have been in the audience of Philip Glassand Robert Wilson’s
 Einstein on the Beach
 in 1976 at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York - and then again at The Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1984. What was - andis - magnificent about the avant-garde formalist minimalism of
 Einstein on the Beach
(and almost all of Robert Wilson’s following theater work) is the radical transcendentaffect that is experienced through his divulging the precise fundamental
essence
 of things by eliminating all non-essential forms and features - and coupling them with very slowmovement and a tremendously rendered scale of time and/or space. Thus with Wilson wecan be transported out of time.Indeed, I am a great admirer of Wilson’s lucid style (even as I do not imitate it). I haveseen Wilson speak on his work as director and designer in 2010 at the Centre Pompidou,where he explained and demonstrated the power of his austere style.Accordingly, I sensibly started to experience Wilson’s multiple installation
 Living Rooms
at the Louvre with the Salle de la Chapelle. It contained his essential core; what hetransported to the museum from his living and working space at the Watermill Center,where he also stores his remarkable personal art collection and archive.There I encounter the simple good taste and direct ease and charm of Wilson himself. Thevast salle was stocked full of small pleasures and tender moments. Wilson clearly has hadvery good taste, mixed with an adventuresome eye.The work collected here is very heterogeneous (albeit reminiscent of the fantastic
 
Surrealist collection of André Breton), containing statuettes, ethnic masks, art by PaulThek, many fascinating portrait photographs including those of Gertrude Stein and AlbertEinstein, musical scores, drawings, artwork from Oceania, ancient Chinese ceramics, a pair of Rudolf Nureyev’s slippers, a George Balanchine slipper, a pair of shoes belongingto Marlene Dietrich, handsome chairs from all periods, and other things he has found – all mostly beautifully displayed. I say mostly, because it unnerved me some that he choseto install most of the small works on paper - obviously in need of eye-level intimatecontact - way, way up high; just under the ceiling. Such cavalier disregard for the contentof that material did indeed trouble and frustrate me some, and I wondered about this inconnection to his reputation as a perfectionist.
 
From Robert Wilson
 Living Rooms
a
 Chaise « Shaker »,
Enfield (New Hampshire), XIXesiècle © The Watermills Center Collection

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