Christoph Buchel's installation at Mass Moca, Training Ground for Democracy, was scheduled to open five months ago today... but Buchel abandoned the installation when it became apparent that he wouldn't be able to finish on-time and within budget. Geoff Edgers has covered the whole story in the Boston Globe... and additionally on his blog, excerpting from Buchel's seven page list of demands necessary to finish, sent to the museum. Go read Edger's piece if you are not familiar with the backstory.
I'm now thinking this show will not happen, because one of Buchel's stated demands is that the exhibition does not open until at least two months after he returns to Mass Moca to finish it; meaning that if he were to return today the show would not open until July 16 at the earliest. That would be seven months into the run of a ten-month show.
Jake Oldershaw, an artist whose exhibition at Mass Moca closed last month, writes about Mass Moca and Buchel on his blog -
"(I was) wondering if he might just deliberately be pushing a handful of rich people in the most powerful country in the world to see how far he could go."
Ugh, please. If that is what he thinks he is doing, then he doesn't know what he is doing. North Adams is a struggling town, even with Mass Moca. Did Oldershaw see how many empty storefronts there are downtown? There are no rich people in North Adams.
What is Buchel's goal? To take down struggling art museums in dying milltowns? Noble.
Mass Moca is not an established institution with some huge endowment... they don't even have a collection. It is only whatever show(s) they have up at the time. I was at Mass Moca last week, and instead of the usual $10 adult, $8 student fee... it was $5 for everyone, because they don't have enough galleries open (Spencer Finch is installing where the Ahistoric Occassion show was).
Oldershaw's blog entry closes with -
"knowing a little bit about the costs and ball-aches that people have to go through when they build his shows, I can't help thinking it's a lot of effort for a relatively small pay-off. Seeing through the smoke, mirrors and fine art disneyland I still wonder what exactly is your point?"
Gee, I wonder if Buchel will have his fuck-you merchandise ready in time for Basel?
From the statement for Buchel's most recent super edginess at Hauser & Wirth -
Büchel repeatedly manipulates and exploits the perceived power of the social and legal contract, subverting the relationship between artist and audience while insisting on a more active political role for both.
Sounds good to me. Let's play! I am the audience member that has subverted the relationship further by entering the Mass Moca space and taking a bunch of pictures. I'll post them probably tomorrow.
UPDATE: CONTINUE READING THE BUCHEL SAGA HERE.
UPDATE 9/23/07 - go HERE to read all the court stuff (i went to the motion hearing).