View of “Pipilotti Rist,” 2011.

Pipilotti Rist

Wexner Center for the Arts

View of “Pipilotti Rist,” 2011.

Neither tenderness nor roominess are states of being that should expect to survive in the hostile environment of Peter Eisenman’s Wexner Center for the Arts. The Wexner has no rooms, its architect having rejected this spatial category as rooted in bourgeois notions of inhabitation, and does not tolerate affect of any kind. Antagonism was essential to Eisenman’s effort to eradicate those sentiments and habits of use that condemn architecture to affirming falsely universalizing humanism and proscribing fixed patterns of behavior. So to find a room full of tenderness surviving in a space conceived to produce disaffection was to witness a work of visual art forging a radically new rapport with contemporary architecture.

With “The Tender Room,” an exhibition by Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist (and title of its central work), affect and intellect came face-to-face this summer at the Wexner.

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