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air space

New acquisition of the work of Martin Creed transforms Marshall and Hendler Galleries

Work No. 2497: Half the air in a given space by Martin Creed

November 2016 – January 2017

Martin Creed. Work No. 2497 Half the air in a given space, 2015. White balloons. Collection of Phoenix Art Museum, Museum purchase with funds provided by Contemporary Forum in honor of Gilbert Vicario, The Selig Family Chief Curator. Installation view, 'Martin Creed: The Back Door,’ Park Avenue Armory, New York NY. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: James Ewing.


alloons in a museum? Yes.

The experimental, conceptual art of Martin Creed transforms museum galleries into an ethereal world of hundreds of balloons. Beginning this month, visitors can step inside this interactive space and activate this extraordinary new acquisition, a gift from Contemporary Forum, a Museum support group, in honor of Gilbert Vicario, the Selig Family Chief Curator. Over the past two and a half decades, the British artist has pursued an extraordinary path by confounding the traditional categories of art. Winner of the 2001 Turner Prize, Creed is recognized around the world for his minimal approach that strips away the unnecessary while preserving an abundance of wit, humor, and surprise. Crossing all artistic media – painting,

sculpture, drawing, installation, performance, video, music, and even music video – his art transforms everyday materials and actions into surprising meditations on existence and the invisible structures that shape our lives. Creed has made several works involving balloons over the course of the last number of years. The series of works is entitled Half the air in a given space, from which Phoenix Art Museum’s latest acquisition is drawn. The title explains the system at work in these installations: half the air in a given space must be contained inside the balloons that occupy it. This means, in each space where a work in this series is installed, the installation is completely different. In a space with very high ceilings, it could be that the

balloons fill the room way above human height, so visitors moving through the space are essentially underwater in a sea of balloons. As Creed explains, “It is important that people have access to the space. In a way, the space should be treated as if the work is not there. The situation, as much as possible, should be normal: as usual, the space is full of air, and here the only difference is that half of that air is inside balloons. Rather than using netting to keep the balloons in place, the containment of the balloons should rely on the choice of the space and the management of entrances and exits, including possibly having a guard or docent help visitors enter and exit.” Thus the artwork is directly connected to and reliant upon the audience’s active participation in generating the unique energy of the installation.


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Phoenix Art Museum Magazine  

November 2016 - February 2017

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