reviews

View of “Danh Vo: Take My Breath Away,” 2018. Foreground: 08:03, 28.05, 2009. Background: Christmas (Rome), 2012, 2013. Photo: David Heald.

Danh Vo

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum | New York

View of “Danh Vo: Take My Breath Away,” 2018. Foreground: 08:03, 28.05, 2009. Background: Christmas (Rome), 2012, 2013. Photo: David Heald.

THE ART OF DANH VO consists of objects either acquired and modified or fabricated by the artist—and also, in a sense, explicated by him. The extensive labels in his exhibitions tell us how Vo procured these things, the histories and persons they represent, and how we might interpret them. Vo’s objects and images are testaments to public and private histories so intricately interwoven they must be explained; otherwise, these things (some are barely “things”) and their significances would elude our grasp. Many shows of contemporary work require discursive framing; Vo takes this convention to an extreme. I count this as a good thing. Initially opaque, his displays cause us to slow down to absorb these often obscure (and often troubling) objects. It took me four or five hours to view the exhibition during each of two visits.

Previous installations of Vo’s work I’d seen allowed only

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