The Beacon evaluates the foyers of MFA amp; ICA

by Beacon Staff • March 19, 2008

The hallway that plays home to the Museum of Fine Art's cafeacute; has turned into the most lively piece of art the museum owns. The entire wall opposite the cafeacute; has been transformed into a dizzy pattern of stripes that will make your head spin, or at least that's what inspired it-------spinning.

Jim Lambie is a DJ as well as an artist, and there is no doubt that his experience has influenced his work. Black stripes follow curvey lines, which makes the wall look as if someone put an LP under a magnifying glass. These black stripes weave in and arund eachother, creating a hypnotic illusion that brings the flat surface to life.

Lambie's wall is part of an ongoing series at the MFA called RSVPmfa in which artists are invited by the museum to show their work in a different way. The artists are asked to consider overlooked spaces and the museum's exhibits as a part of, or backdrop for their work.

Lambie's piece is reminiscent of a modern day Robert Rauschenberg piece. Rauschenberg is an artist that is known for his "Combine" paintings from the 1950's, which were made of paint, silk screened images and sculpture, and could be most easily recognized as a collage.

Lambie implements this collage element by morphing together brightly colored chairs, which are cut in half, paired with another half chair or two, and nailed to the wall in different positions. To add a final touch, a few sparkly purses that looks as though they once belonged to Liza Minelli hang from some of the creations. Colorful pieces of wood really pop against the rope like shapes of the black stripes that swirl on the wall.

The placement of RSVP:Jim Lambie, makes the experience of seeing the work much more insightful. The wall overlooks the cafeacute;, and the marble countertop at the cafeacute;'s bar reflects the thick black stripes on the wall, mimicking the same wave effect as the piece.

The Cafeacute; is a metaphorically reflective space as well as a literal one. On an average day, the cafeacute; plays home to many diners and a multitude of activity, and the wall shares its motion with the diners. The entire area transforms into a living work of art.

The piece is also located in a high traffic area, near the entrance to the cafeacute;, the museum shop, one the MFA's entrances and the hall also leads to a gallery. In addition to all of this activity, there is a transparent glass wall through which the diners can see the museum shop, and all of the people moving about and purchasing van Gogh's Starry Night umbrellas and posters of Monet's Water Lilies.

The cafeacute; area is an inspired placement for the work because of the harried quality of the chairs in the piece. A chair usually symbolizes a feeling of rest. The chairs in this piece, however, are broken-not made for sitting-and are loud and exciting colors. Some of the chairs are on their side and upside down, which add to the uneasy quality of chairs.

It is clear that RSVPmfa and Lambie did well when picking the right place for the right piece. The dizzying wall reflects the concept of the space perfectly, and lets diners be a part of art as they chow down on the museum's soup du jour.