ATL bandit artist pops up at NYC Guggenheim

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Just weeks after taking LGBT rights to an East Atlanta street fight, gay artist John Morse employs the rainbow as both medium and message again, this time in a guerrilla art pop-up in New York City’s museum district.

Six performers, each in a color of the rainbow under Morse’s high-concept direction, took to the Guggenheim Museum of Art on July 12, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Led by purple, the performers paused along the railing (video above and photo below)—“the money shot,” as artist John Morse called it— and then walked through every floor of the museum as part of Morse’s pop-up installation, “The Color Spectrum at the Guggenheim,” on July 12. The only rule was to stay in line.

“I find this rainbow, this color spectrum element to be so utterly simple but infinitely explorable,” Morse said. “Everyone has seen the rainbow flag countless times before, but how can you see it like you’ve never seen before?”

The museum didn’t know the pop-up installation was coming, but patrons appeared to enjoy the surprise, and officials seem to like the attention, according to the paper. The iconic white helix design of the building itself provided the perfect backdrop, the artist says.

Morse selected the Guggenheim for its striking architecture. Frank Lloyd Wright’s circular ramp was an ideal place to exhibit the colors of the gay flag, which has appeared in many of his public art works. In 1988, he installed a 16-food long color spectrum using fruits and vegetables in Socrates Sculpture Park.

The Guggenheim performance “was about bringing art to a museum,” said Morse, who didn’t wait to be invited to exhibit there the traditional way.

“While it wasn’t a performance authorized or sanctioned by the museum, we are always happy to learn that people are inspired by our landmark building and special exhibitions,” said Lauren Van Natten, a spokeswoman for the Guggenheim.

Morse has always had a taste for the whimsical.

Consistently whimsical indeed. The “Spectrum” performance was just the latest of Morse’s Atlanta-bred visions, many of them rainbow-themed, to make it all the way to New York. Among the other Morse works that have drawn our attention are “controversial” (to uptight people in Atlanta) and award-winning (in New York City) city-wide signage installations, as well as a rainbow-flag salute all across Atlanta last year. He set his artistic sites a lot closer to home for that neighborhood battle royale over Stonewall Weekend.

[Wall Street Journal | Photo by Jaynie Gillman Crimmons]

 

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