San Francisco

Olafur Eliasson

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

MOST SOLO EXHIBITIONS require little explanation of why or how they came to be. Their logic inevitably seems to fit some well-established category: There is the midcareer survey or the full-dress retrospective, or the show that concentrates on a single genre or theme. Why, then, does it seem less than easy to slip “Take your time: Olafur Eliasson” into a ready-made slot? There is no question that the show, billed as a survey and initially mounted at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art by curator Madeleine Grynsztejn, provides the amplest US presentation to date of the work of the forty-one-year-old Berlin-based artist—as was its aim. And with an additional four venues in the offing, it is destined to serve as a milestone, perhaps even a watershed, in what until now has been a mostly European career.

Yet all this notwithstanding, problems emerge. What sort of encounter is this? What does

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