September 5, 2014
The Mad Museum is one of my favorite museums — their embrace of art, craft and “maker” technology hits a sweet spot with me, as does the post-modern mashup of styles of many of their artists. I was excited to see their first Maker Biennial.
While I enjoyed several pieces in this show, I found that the sheer volume of work and artists (about 100) overwhelming. I’ve had a similar reaction at the Whitney’s biennials, where I end up finding a couple of things to concentrate on and skim the rest.
I found it frustrating that you have to leaf through 11 pages of newsprint catalog to find out what you are looking at. First you have to identify the area you are in, then find the item number in a map, and then look up the description for that number. While I understand that the large number of pieces could make putting up labels on each piece difficult — maybe some information design or technology solution could have made that more straightforward.
Anyway the pieces I did like the most were Constantin and Laurene Leon Boym Buildings of Disaster, and Natalie Jeremijenko’s CHILDxLABORxPENCIL Manufactory with pencil lead made from ultrafine particulate pollution that she extracted from the air.
The Mad Museum has an amazing 57 inch plasma touchscreen with their entire collection searchable, filterable and sortable in a grid. Beautiful design by Pentagram.
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