Thursday, May 21, 2009

Feng Shui House for Art

Last Sunday afternoon, after attending yet another graduation ceremony (for the library school where I work) I biked over to the Village of Monona (basically, a suburb of Madison) to see Nicole Gruter's MFA show.

Working with a couple of Feng Shui experts (one of whom used to work at the library school where I work), Nicole divested herself of something like 70% of her belongings and reorganized what was left. She rented one of those PODS things to use as a reception area, hired a bunch of her art school colleagues to be galleristas, and opened her home for the show.

Nicole has this great deep voice - the first time I met her face-to-face, I already knew her voice, from messages she had left on our answering machine for my son, booking his high school band at the teen loft. She used this great voice to record an audio tour for the show. I never get the audio tour at museums, the line's always too long; I figure, "hey, I have a bachelors' degree in art history, who needs the curator, I'll make up my own audio tour", but it was crucial to Nicole's show.

You make a reservation, arrive at the place, mill around a bit in the reception area, then the gallerista hands you your CD walkman audio tour, and a map, and you enter the house. It's divided up into about seven stations, each with its own recording. The one I liked best is the one in the feng shui'd living room, where the walls are sage and tan and one is purple - Nicole's voice describes the feng shui expert's hands flipping through the color chips to arrive at purple, and I envisioned the hands of the feng shui expert that I know, not knowing she was, coincidentally, seated outside the house at the same time. Nicole's voice goes on to detail her strong reaction to the purple - it reminds her of a particular time in her life, and a particular betrayal by a former boyfriend. The last song, to sail you out the kitchen door to the back garden, is also quite perfect.

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