Arts / Museums


The Blockbuster That Came Tumbling Down

BY Patricia Mora // 01.20.15

Dateline: Mayhem and destruction at the Dallas Contemporary.

Loris Gréaud is handsome, dashingly dressed and widely known for his simultaneous installations at the Louvre and Centre Pompidou in Paris. His exhibition “The Unplayed Notes Museum” was one of the most hotly anticipated events in the Dallas art world. Rumors circulated that Hollywood director David Lynch was due to appear at the opening with a bevy of celebrities in tow — and, given the artist’s superstar status, anything seemed possible. After all, Gréaud works and moves in rarified and flamboyantly glamorous circles. However, the actual event was so outré that it outstripped any predictions put forth by ardent followers of a man who is readily ranked as one of the world’s most important contemporary artists.

Interestingly, astute viewers of a video posted in The New York Times online magazine spotted some insinuated clues regarding the events of the evening of January 17 if they looked closely. Namely, the footage features blasts, rioting and fiery destruction — and a literal form of destruction did, in fact, occur within the walls of the Dallas Contemporary museum. Monsieur Gréaud readily admits that this could not have happened at any other institution on our bright, spinning globe, and he lavishly praises the museum’s director, Peter Doroshenko, for his adventurousness.

Midway through the exhibition, museum-goers were ushered outside while officials loudly warned them to “exit through the glass doors.” This, of course, ramped up the ambient vibe with a bit of panic, and the crowd reacted in diverse ways. Some laughed while others became angry — and not a few people were horrified that some of the art they had previously viewed was being destroyed. Even as the crowd was being dispersed, towering cherubim were blown apart, paintings were ripped from walls, and general mayhem ensued. This, of course, is a first in the museum world — and, thus, Dallas has become an epicenter for international cutting-edge art and the concerns it constellates.

Regarding these titillating head-spinners, only a few of the pertinent questions are: Where does art reside? When is art finished? What kind of world is postulated when works are made to immediately become rubble? Are museum walls arbitrary boundaries, or do they definitively create a space that straddles the sacred and secular?

That’s for starters —a cerebral aperitif, as it were. Meanwhile, at the Contemporary’s “Chit-Chat” session, Gréaud made it quite clear that the answers — nay, even the questions — are up to us. The French are fond of ponderous and nuanced considerations, and Gréaud’s masterpiece is no exception. As for answers, all you’ll get from the handsome Parisian is a resolute decision to leave things up to viewers. That makes us co-creators in the process, and that’s certainly an interesting place to reside. Fascinating, in fact.

Loris Gréaud’s “The Unplayed Notes Museum” is open now until March 21, 2015, at the Dallas Contemporary

To view our style story inspired by Gréaud’s exhibition, click here.

Read more about Loris Gréaud’s artistic inspiration here.

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