Transformation or narcissism?
Robert Ayers’ praise of “Mirror,” the new LED artwork by Doug Aitken commissioned by the Seattle Art Museum, illustrates what happens when more attention is paid to what the artist says than to what the artist makes. [“Street party will welcome SAM installation,” seattletimes.com, March 22.]
Aitkin describes his work as a “transformation” of urban spaces, spaces he calls “gray corridors surrounded by structures with little or no life to them.” This could apply to vast sections of Los Angeles, where Aitken lives, and other urban wastelands, but it hardly fits First and Union.
“Mirror” may be pleasant enough for Seattleites to look at, with images of Seattle and its environs displayed on its big screen. But will it be a transformative experience for the viewers or, more likely, as the title implies, a narcissistic one?
– Fred Holcomb, Seattle
This post, originally published April 2, 2013, was updated on July 11, 2013. An earlier version incorrectly attributed the review to Michael Upchurch. Robert Ayers wrote the review.