Tara Donovan / Damien Hirst at the Met
One of the great things about the Metropolitan's "suggested" admission price policy? You can bamboozle your exhausted-from-skating daughters to stop in for just 15 minutes or so and look at two pieces of art, and, if you're like me, it will only set you back $3.
First we headed over to the mezzanine in the modern wing to see Tara Donovan's new installation, for which the artist covered all three walls of the gallery with rolled strips of mylar tape in seemingly random, organic patterns. Debbie introduced me to Donovan a couple of years ago—she creates amazingly obsessive sculptures out of plastic drinking straws, or styrofoam cups, or pencils—and I must say that this new piece is not her most exciting. Bo, Co and I all agreed that although we liked the "bubble" or "drops-of-water" effect created by both the shape of the loops as well the reflections off the mylar, the whole thing was disappointingly 2-D , and didn't really command the space.
Up one flight of stairs: Damien Hirst's The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, more popularly known as The Shark. Now, the most obvious reaction to Hirst's most famous work—a 13-foot tiger shark floating in formaldehyde—is that a more appropriate home for this sad, decaying beast might be across the park at the Museum of Natural History. The flip side, to paraphrase my insightful girlfriend: if you installed any of the MNH's animals in the Met and called it art, it would look somewhat cool just because it seems so out of place. That said, my daughters and I also all thought that there is definitely something poignant and compelling about this piece. And you've got love the list of materials on the wall card.
Tara Donovan's exhibition runs through April 27, 2008; Damien Hirst's Shark will be on view through the Fall of 2010.