31 January 2012
Last week I attended a perfect ceremony that began with a dinner for 140 guests and was followed by a party with 2000 people, joined by another 1500 visitors the day after. Substantial numbers, but they pale beside the million users who followed the live streaming of the 24h Museum event, commissioned from Francesco Vezzoli by Prada. For a day, the Palais d’Iéna in Paris, a monumental government building already borrowed for the fashion shows of Miu Miu, became an extempore museum with a collection of luminescent sculptures resembling advertising signs and as incongruous as surrealist collages. All around–actors more or less aware of taking part in a collective performance that distilled the social and media dimension of the art world–the bystanders: from Polanski to the student of economics, from the pensioner to Kate Moss, from Anna Wintour to the drag queen… All of them inside the fluorescent pink cage designed by Rem Koolhaas’s AMO studio. Enough to make any purist turn up his nose. But enough too to trigger a mass frenzy that is still proliferating on line. Free from the sanctity of the (real) museum and protected by the allure and power of Prada, Vezzoli has been even more daring than usual. He has had fun. And he has amused people. But the question is a serious one too. For 24 hours he staged a possible future for art (citing the Baroque feasts) beyond the boundaries that some continue to defend, at times promoting an elitist vision of culture.