Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Ave. at 89th St.
Through March 10 (closed Thursday), $18 - $25 (pay-what-you-wish Saturday 5:45-7:45)
The Guggenheim’s “Tales of Our Time” exhibition, featuring half a dozen contemporary Chinese artists and collectives, comes to a close this week with several final events. On March 7 and 8 at 7:00 and 9:30, Raimundas Malašauskas and Marcos Lutyens’s hour-long, site-specific “Hypnotic Show” is a conceptual, imaginary experiment in cognitive narrative. On Wednesday afternoon, 1:30 to 5:45, Yangjiang Group’s “Unwritten Rules Cannot Be Broken” will be activated for the last time, a tea gathering in which visitors can sit down in a peaceful environment, sip tea, contemplate calligraphy, and measure their heart rate and blood pressure before and after the communal experience. The second exhibition of the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative, “Tales of Our Time” consists of specially commissioned works commenting on place and history, inspired by the 1936 book Gushi xin bian (Old Tales Retold) by Lu Xun. In “Taxi,” Taipei artist Chia-En Jao films his political conversations with cabdrivers as he goes to historically significant locations; meanwhile, his unique coat-of-arms flag titled “Arms No. 31” reveals key moments in Taiwan’s history through detailed symbolism. Zhou Tao’s two-channel video “Land of the Throat” depicts current landscapes undergoing development, with some futuristic, otherworldly elements added. Kan Xuan’s “Kū Lüè Er,” which translates as “to circle a piece of land,” is a multichannel installation of stop-motion cell-phone pictures and sandstone sculptures of barbed wire exploring the evolution and erosion of cities and the relationship between nature and humanity.
In addition to the Wednesday tea gathering, Yangiang Group’s “Unwritten Rules Cannot Be Broken” boasts a balcony garden and a three-level green post of calligraphy that references a newspaper headline in which former vice president Joe Biden discussed healthy competition between China and the United States. Hong Kong artist Tsang Kin-Wah’s “In the End Is the Word” references the battle between China and Japan as ships fight it out on the ocean, concluding with a stream of phrases from such philosophers as Marx, Sartre, Derrida, and Nietzsche (“The end of its miserable life,” “Fill and refill all over again”) pouring off the screen, morphing into “No(thing/Fact) Outside,” the vinyl words spreading over nearby walls, a staircase, the floor, and even an elevator. Sun Xun’s “Mythological Time” revisits the coalmine of his hometown of Fuxin in a stop-motion charcoal animation and mural reminiscent of the work of William Kentridge. Finally, Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s “Can’t Help Myself” is a giant industrial robot that performs balletic moves as it tries to keep viscous red liquid resembling blood into a confined area around it while the liquid inevitably oozes away and at times ends up splattered on the polycarbonate wall, referencing both automation and endless violence. Speaking of place and history, the Guggenheim is also celebrating its eightieth anniversary with the greatest-hits exhibition “Visionaries: Creating a Modern Guggenheim,” exploring the past, present, and future of the collection.