Yoga Invades MoMA

Pippilota Rist’s video and sound installation Pour Your Body Out at MoMA is a engrossing and delicious experience. Lights fill the white walls, and people lay back to watch the film with their shoes off. (The smell of feet is the only disquieting element.) This kind of exhibition could be enjoyed lounging, hungover, and–according to Jerry Saltz at New York Magazine–doing yoga.

To increase engagement with the installation, artist Cheryl Donegan arranged an impromptu yoga demo at MoMA that had museum goers doing triangle poses. If only I had been there! I second Donegin, that audience participation at the exhibition and at theanyspacewhatever exhibition at the Guggenhiem could have been greater, especially at the latter exhibition.

Museum goers are so used to feeling like an audiences that it can be hard to break out of that mold and touch the art and think about space playfully. Saltz describes the experience, in jealousy-inducing terms, thus:

On Friday night, I arrived to find the darkened atrium teeming with hundreds of people; Rist’s wonderful droning, chanting soundtrack filled the air with drowsy delirium, and her images of gigantic naked floating bodies, lush undergrowth, and water filled the walls. A few minutes before the appointed starting time, a dozen or so people, almost all women, shed their coats to reveal work-out clothes. At 7:00 p.m., the tall, fit, and charismatic Auder, outfitted in a gold-lamé leotard and striped leggings, announced that she was leading a free yoga class.

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