Critics’ Picks

View of “Darius Mikšys: Hayward & Tamayo,” 2016.

View of “Darius Mikšys: Hayward & Tamayo,” 2016.


Darius Mikšys

Kunstverein München
Galeriestraße 4
September 24–November 20, 2016

For his series, “Pinocchio,” 2011–, Darius Mikšys delegates his exhibition space to other museums, which then collectively author installations or other artworks—their own real live boys, so to speak. This iteration couples Mikšys’s collaborations with London’s Hayward Gallery and Mexico City’s Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo. The Hayward crafted a two-pronged curatorial riff on its own public face; in keeping with the Pinocchio theme, the institution produced fifteen prosthetic replicas of the nose of its namesake, Sir Isaac Hayward, which were sent to the Kunstverein with the mandate that the staff don them periodically throughout the exhibition. The second part of the project comprised an open call for nose-themed art, which successfully solicited everything from a John Baldessari screen print to an anonymous photograph of a man raising his fist in a “fig,” an obscene hand gesture that delightfully doubles as the international symbol for “got-your-nose.”

In response, the Tamayo tapped into the keen creative sensibilities of its staffers. Resulting pieces include security guard Andy Musa’s green plastic ride-on toy (all works untitled) poised precariously over the staircase, and the feisty arrangement of brooms, rug, mop bucket, and rubber gloves offered up by the janitorial team. Both works toe the line between satire and sincerity, testifying to a fluency in contemporary art’s idiom that seems to have seeped throughout the institution. Another particular highlight is technician Octavio Villaescusa’s footage of the deinstallation of the “upside-down aquarium” embedded in the floor of Pierre Huyghe’s 2012 exhibition “El día del ojo.” In capturing two men in bathing suits and goggles splashing around in the shallow pool in an attempt to gather the volcanic rocks within, Villaescusa reveals the bare life of the artwork, stripped of the dignity usually afforded by white-cube staging. Not institutional critique, but rather an institution’s critique.