Sehgal’s Staged Situations

In the NYT, a profile of Tino Sehgal, who’s most recent situation, entitled “This Situation”, opens November 30th at the Marian Goodman Gallery.

ART can be defined, provocatively, as an intangible quantity that transforms an ordinary object — a urinal, a soup can, an unmade bed — into something worth many times more than its material value. Tino Sehgal seeks to isolate precisely that intangible quantity. His art is completely immaterial; it can be bought and sold without involving any objects whatsoever.

Mr. Sehgal, 31, who lives in Berlin, creates what he calls “staged situations”: interactive experiences that may not even initially declare themselves as works of art. Take “This Is New,” in which an attendant quotes a museumgoer a headline from that day’s papers: only the visitor’s response can trigger an interaction that concludes with the work’s title being spoken. Or “This Success/This Failure,” in which young children at play in an empty room attempt to draw visitors into their games, and after a certain time decide themselves whether the result has been a success or a failure. Or “This Situation,” a more complex piece, with six adult players, which opens at the Marian Goodman Gallery on Friday and is Mr. Sehgal’s first New York show.

Part of the point is to free art from the glut of material overproduction. But Mr. Sehgal, unlike many performance artists, is not protesting the art market itself. His work is specifically conceived to function within the art world’s conventions: it is lent and exhibited, bought and sold.

[H/t: Maeve Adams]