The following is a transcript and description of a ‘Saturday Talks’ presentation made in the Serpentine Summer Pavilion, at 3.15pm on Saturday the 28 July, 2012. The quoted segments were written by me beforehand, printed on 12 sheets of A4 paper and shuffled. Introduced with an amplified microphone, I invited audience members to take part in an ‘experimental seminar’, to choose a sheet at random and read it into the microphone. The microphone had a short, 3-metre wire, which required willing audience members to approach the ‘stage’ to then sit and read. The text written by me and read aloud is below in italics. File under ‘Productively Failed Experiments.’
The first person to volunteer is a girl, six or seven years old in a Tintin t-shirt, who enthusiastically throws her arm in the air to be chosen, then runs up to the platform where we sit with the PA system. She reads assuredly, halting on a few overly complicated (maybe unnecessary, even) words. I scoot up next to her, to hold the paper for her so that she can concentrate on reading, and to help with any words if needed. It goes on for quite a while—I begin to worry that she is bored:
Italian architect Lina Bo Bardi in 1947 is curator of a private museum housed within Brazil’s Associated Press offices. She is hanging paintings from metal bars that run from floor to ceiling, and writes, ‘no distinction is made between an old or a modern work of art.’
She opens her Museum of Art Sao Paulo eleven years after it is begun. In the upper gallery, she creates an open plan floors are filled with controversial ‘panel-easel’ display panels, rectangles of clear, tempered crystal propped up by cubes of concrete.
Each sheet of glass holds a painting, arranged at the same height irrespective of chronology, typology, style, genre, artist. There are hundreds of them in a room, all facing the same direction. The name of the artist, title of the work, and some additional information is displayed on the back of the panel. The display system was abandoned in 1996. Continue reading