Utopia at the Peggy Guggenheim, Venice

I recently visited the Peggy Guggenheim Collection‘s temporary exhibition called “Utopia Matters,” an exploration of the search for an ideal life through objects. The succession of intimate rooms featured everything from Neo-Raphaelite painting, to Tiffany glass windows, to Bauhaus tapestries. I not only agree with the idea of the show, I feel that its premise needs to be more commonplace. The study of art history is the study of articulating abstraction through material. We live with the legacy of inscribing significance in the objects we interact with.

The show’s specific relevance, and its ability to resonate and impress, comes from the fact that it is a show of example. It is not nostalgic of the movements and their individual success or failure to realize their utopias. Rather, it suggests that a chair has the ability to embody an idealized life, that we can brush against utopia through objects and earthliness. It suggests that no object is too lowly to carry the weight of an idea. The pursuit of an ideal is the pursuit of material creation. The catalogue suggested that the show was meant to give hope in these grey times, and I feel it has done just that.

Through July 25, 2010. See a virtual tour.

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