PHILADELPHIA — Once upon a time, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, there lived a family of sculptures. They were all smooth, white, and vacant-eyed.
Between the proliferation of galleries in Bushwick and, to a lesser extent, Greenpoint, the small cadre of Dumbo galleries sticking it out, longtime heavyweights including the Brooklyn Museum and BRIC mounting ambitious shows, and Creative Time parachuting Kara Walker’s sugar sphinx into the Domino Sugar Factory, it’s been an exceptionally strong year for art in Brooklyn.
Every once in a while, a show comes along that offers a reminder of what it must have been like to see something new — old artwork that still brims with the energy and promise of revelation. Luhring Augustine’s exhibition of Michelangelo Pistoletto’s The Minus Objects is one those shows.
Many people love art for its power to transport, whether through a painting that brings us to the banks of the Seine in 19th-century France or an installation that immerses us in a fanciful and imagined alternate world. But what about when art refuses to carry us away, offering instead only blank space, an empty frame staring back at us?
What do we see when we look at art? What do we want to see? Answers come readily and are various: we seek beauty; enlightenment; pleasure; escape from ourselves; insight into those same selves.
If the art world has been about globalism for quite a while I can say that is more true now than ever — if that’s possible.