Pollen from Hazelnut

As bitter temperatures chilled the air from Chicago to New York yesterday morning, I stepped off of W 53rd Street into the Museum of Modern Art, joining members of the media for a preview of Wolfgang Laib’s Pollen from Hazelnut. The installation, on view in MoMA’s atrium through March 11, felt like a harbinger of spring. An expanse of pollen stretched out before me–a scentless, soundless, horizontal field. The air around it was clear of haze (allergy sufferers need not fear). I felt compelled to move slowly around the work and to gaze into it from all sides for long periods. Later, en route to Inventing Abstraction on the 6th floor, this glowing, golden rectangle kept entering my field of vision. Quietly, the work seemed to pull the entire museum into its orbit–a sunny, life-giving force. In just 37 days, on March 2, the Phillips opens another work by this artist, a permanent Laib Wax Room. And just 18 days later, on March 20, spring is here. But for now, in coldest winter, Pollen from Hazelnut conjures a sense of creation.

Cecilia Wichmann, Publicity and Marketing Manager

Members of the media preview Wolfgang Laib's Pollen from Hazelnut at MoMa, New York, yesterday morning (Jan. 23, 2013)

Members of the media preview Wolfgang Laib’s Pollen from Hazelnut at MoMa, New York, yesterday morning (Jan. 23, 2013)

A Busy and Momentous Centennial for John Cage

John Cage seems to be everywhere. The Phillips participated in a city-wide centennial event back in September, one of many happening around the world. My Modern and Contemporary Poetry class from Coursera spent some serious time learning about Cage’s chance operations in poetry, generating passionate discussion online between people all over the globe. Our Duncan Phillips lecture by Rick Moody centered on Cage’s composition 4:33″. And yesterday came news that the Museum of Modern Art has acquired 4:33″, the score comprised of “just three folded sheets of almost blank onionskin paper”. If you’ve not experienced Cage’s “4:33″, the clip below demonstrates the fascination and awe over the surprising piece.