Crossing the line / Cruzando la línea

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

Cousin Al, the art gallery director, and I had a great time at the Pompidou Center Málaga. Except Al nearly got us kicked out (as he did at Phillip Plein a couple of days earlier, click here). There were subtle taped lines on the floor throughout the exhibit that indicated how close we spectators could get. I was very aware and respectful of those lines when I was there with Lulu in May.

However, with Al, there was a little bit more excitement because he’s worked with and knows many of the artists whose works were on display. So when we approached those sacks filled with spices (click here), Al explained how strong the spice smell is when these pieces are first done. He said the aroma can be chokingly potent when they’re unpacked. He then stepped close to sniff. So did I. I told Al I hadn’t caught the fragrance the last time.

Then a guard, a very pleasant and understanding guard, came up to me and indicated the tape I was standing about one foot (30 cm) beyond. Al was about 15 feet (4.5 meters) inside the exhibit. No wonder I couldn’t smell anything the first time. I apologized profusely. We didn’t get kicked out.

Then there were the giant seashells. We didn’t get in any trouble, but Al told me an interesting story. He was surprised by how tame was this work by Vito Acconci. Al was only familiar with his performance pieces.

In 1972, Acconci introduced a work in New York City. The piece had a low wooden ramp extending across the room. Acconci lay unseen beneath the ramp. Sometimes, he slept and patrons could hear him snoring. But, mostly, he masturbated. His spoken fantasies about the visitors walking above him were heard through loudspeakers. 

Don’t you wonder what he would have said about you?


El primo Al, el directorde una galería de arte, y yo lo pasamos muy bien en el Centro Pompidou Málaga. Excepto que Al casi consigue que nos echen (como hizo en Phillip Plein un par de días antes, haz clic aquí). Había sutiles líneas grabadas en el piso a lo largo de la exhibición que indicaban qué tan cerca podíamos estar los espectadores. Fui muy consciente y respetuosa de esas líneas cuando estuve allí con Lulu en mayo.

Sin embargo, con Al, hubo un poco más de emoción porque ha trabajado y conoce a muchos de los artistas cuyas obras estaban en exhibición. Entonces, cuando nos acercamos a esos sacos llenos de especias (haz clic aquí), Al explicó cuán fuerte es el olor a especias cuando estas piezas se cocinan por primera vez. Dijo que el aroma puede ser asfixiantemente potente cuando se desempaquetan. Luego se acercó para olfatear. Yo también. Le dije a Al que no había captado la fragancia la última vez.

Entonces un guardia, un guardia muy agradable y comprensivo, se acercó a mí y me indicó la cinta que estaba parado 30 cm (un pie) más allá. Al estaba a unos 4,5 metros (15 pies) dentro de la exhibición. No es de extrañar que no pudiera oler nada la primera vez. Me disculpé profusamente. No nos echaron.

Luego estaban las conchas marinas gigantes. No nos metimos en ningún problema, pero Al me contó una historia interesante. Le sorprendió lo mansa que era esta obra de Vito Acconci. Al solo estaba familiarizado con sus piezas de actuación.

En 1972, Acconci presentó una obra en la ciudad de Nueva York. La pieza tenía una rampa baja de madera que se extendía por la habitación. Acconci yacía invisible debajo de la rampa. A veces, dormía y los clientes podían oírlo roncar. Pero, sobre todo, se masturbaba. Sus fantasías habladas sobre los visitantes que caminaban sobre él se escuchaban a través de los altavoces. 

¿No te preguntas qué habría dicho él sobre ti?

• “We Stopped Just Here At The Time.” Ernesto Neto, 1964. The title seems appropriate now.
• “Nos detuvimos justo aquí en ese momento”. El título parece apropiado ahora.
• “Convertible Clam Shelter.” Vito Acconci, 1990.
• Refugio-almeja convertible.”
• “Ether Suspension 150S.” Patrick Jouin, 1967. I stood well back from the platform. Al stood well back from me.
• “Suspensión Éter 150S”. Me paré bien atrás de la plataforma. Al estaba bien lejos de mí.


We’re going to the end of the line.
Vamos al final de la fila.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

22 thoughts on “Crossing the line / Cruzando la línea”

  1. The art piece is so outstanding in deed! The mermaid pose on the stairs is quite something lol. Love the whole vibe there. I worked and lived in New York for about 1 year there 20 years ago. So I do get a bit nostalgic

    1. Roentare:
      I love having a city with so much art. New York is amazing for that but, as far as I’m concerned, not for living. Personal taste or maybe just too many memories that I don’t like to relive.

  2. Vito Acconci would probably be moaning “Get off the ramp, you fat lump!”

    Even in an art gallery, Cousin Al gets up to mischief – love it! Jx

    1. Jon:
      Al was mortified when he realized what he had done (so he said). My sense was that since Vito Acconci was masturbating the entire time, he would have found something stimulating.

  3. Great photos, as always, and an interesting museum outing. I’ve never heard of Vito Acconci but I wish I’d experienced his performance art. That sounds pretty wild!

  4. Interesting question, what do we think, others think, is our appeal? It looks like the two of you had great fun, double the fun,

    1. Jim:
      What was even better about Al was that we mostly went our separate ways in the museum. He would sometimes share a fun anecdote but we were both able to take in the art on our own terms.

    1. Debra:
      Al I think was so used to getting a good whiff of that art that he didn’t even think before stepping up. He was quite embarrassed and apologetic. I have to admit, I’m glad we stepped over the line. It was fun to actually smell those sacks of spices.

  5. Those clam shells would make great cooling pools if filled with water and big chunks of ice. Top them off with sunbrellas and enjoy with margaritas! Your cousin Al is a hoot and total miscreant, LOL!

    1. Tundra Bunny:
      They should replace the recliners across the street with giant clam shell foutons. On top of being a hoot and a miscreant, Al is usually the smartest guy in the room. One of a kind.

  6. I’d be tempted to cross the lines, too. Ever read The Borrowers when you were a kid? Walking among those giant matches and coconuts shells, I’d feel just like a borrower.

    1. Kirk:
      I’ve never read The Borrowers and now I want to. I’m always so well behaved in museums but after crossing the line this time and getting to enjoy the art as it was intended, now I’ll be temped to cross the line all the time.

    1. Sassybear:
      That’s exactly what I thought. I wonder if he could still do this now. That exhibit did run 50 years ago. Maybe that’s why he’s doing clam shells.

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