Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Misplaced Empathy in Malibu

What's is the right way to show a Mike Kelley Empathy Displacement? Two are currently on view, one at Pepperdine's Weisman Museum and another at UCLA's Hammer.

Empathy Displacement consists of a vernacular rag doll in a black "coffin" and Kelley's black-and-white painting of the doll. At MOCA's 2014 retrospective, a group of Empathy's were installed the way the Hammer has its version (right). The painting is propped flush against the wall, its lower edge on the floor. There's a little space between the coffin and the painting.

The Weisman has hung its painting on the wall, like a regular painting. Maybe they followed the rule that the eyes of portrait should meet the viewer's. As a bonus, the Weisman scheme leaves easy access to an electric outlet.

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