MoMA is currently displaying its recently acquired Silverman Fluxus collection, and MoMA staff are blogging about the experience of unpacking the acquisition.
What sorts of items does one encounter in a Fluxus collection? Let’s take a look! This one, by artist James Riddle, has a note attached.
“‘Urine,'” reads the note–we like Riddle’s ambiguous quotation marks–“Bottles of my own urine for sale at Cinematique Theater, ‘Fluxfest,’ 1965.”
Gillian Young, Temporary Cataloger, Department of Prints and Illustrated Books, decided to see what was what:
The revolting odor that escaped when I opened the first bag was proof enough that there was indeed human waste inside, and it prevented me from investigating further. I swiftly re-sealed the Ziploc. The introduction of Riddle’s urine into an art collection–housed, almost a half century later, at MoMA–had evidently rendered the artist’s waste at once more abstractly valuable and physically noxious.
Thus did Ms. Young learn a valuable lesson about How Art Works.