Mon February 7, 2011
The Two-Way

Shoe Box Gazing, Or Trying To Figure Out Gabriel Orozco

We don't usually touch on fine art here on this blog, but a piece in The Guardian today was too intriguing to pass up.

At the center of it is a minimalist piece from Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco. Oh, OK, it's not a piece, it's an empty shoe box that he titled "Empty Shoe Box (1993)." The simple white box, which even includes a UPC sticker on it has made the rounds — from the Venice Biennale where the box made its debut to New York's Museum of Modern Art, where it was shown last year.

Right now, it's in London's Tate Modern and The Guardian's Patrick Kingsley decided to spend a day watching the box to see how patrons would react, if at all.

Kingsley points out that in Venice people left money in the box. Well, most of the gallery goers in London just looked at it a bit confused. But finally, someone, kicked it and then two people left tissue paper in it. It caused a stir, because the gallery is charged with keeping the box safe, but it's in that interaction that Kingsley found the marvel. He writes:

It's an episode that highlights the most provocative thing about the box: the tension it creates between visitor and gallery. The box attracts attention through its ordinariness, but for the viewer, this ordinariness is not interesting in itself; only the interaction between the box and the gallery-goer that such ordinariness subsequently seems to allow, and even solicit, is interesting.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Related Program