Sturtevant’s Mini-MoMA Imitation Game

Sturtevant’s 2004 piece — a reproduction of an light bulb and cord installation “ Gonzalez-Torres Untitled (America)”. On far wall, “Study for Rosenquist’s Spaghetti & Glass”, an oil painted in 1965-1966

Sturtevant interprets Gonzalez-Torres Untitled (America) (2004). On far wall, Study for Rosenquist’s Spaghetti & Glass, an oil painted in 1965-1966

The free Friday night crowd at MoMA could not get enough of the Elaine Sturtevant tribute, Double Trouble, closing this weekend. Sturtevant spent her long career creating ready-mades out of other people’s art.

The show is a who’s who of 20th century art, except that all the pieces were done by Ms. Sturtevant. The show has it all – an entryway plastered with Warhol’s cow wallpaper (done by her), Lichtensteins, Rosenquists, Johns oil paintings – all done in her hand. Take a walk through our Flickr site and see more in the photos on the curator’s blog.

It’s all imitation, except that Elaine’s versions are really, really good. It’s hard to tell them from the originals displayed through the rest of the museum. Nothing in the show is a line-by-line copy, but you’ll have to go MoMA’s permanent galleries to compare them with the real thing.

Sturtevant’s 1967-1968 oil on canvas,Study for LIchtenstein’s ‘Happy Tears’

Sturtevant’s 1967-1968 oil on canvas, Study for LIchtenstein’s ‘Happy Tears’

In fact, MoMA encourages a trek upstairs to compare Duchamp’s own ready-mades and whirligig. Or Mr. Beuys slabs of fat with those sitting on Sturtevant’s chairs in the darkened gallery.

Can anyone distinguish the Warhol Wall Flowers that Elaine made from the reproduced images of the originals on the stuff all over the gift shop?

The Gonzalez-Torres installation was the dramatic high point, all flashy bulbs in a charismatic, mysterious circle near the pretty perfect interpretations of early video games. Everyone is having a blast lining up to contemplate Sturtevant’s walk down digital memory lane with her interpretation of Pacman 1.0.

Is that Sturtevant’s Duane Hanson museum security guard reproduction in the corner? Oh, no, it’s an actual MoMa guard! Sorry. Just about everything else is a fool-the-eye art encounter. Total fun in the white cube.

Sturtevant’s 1990 vision of Warhol’s Flowers alongside her 1968 Duchamp film with interpretations of three Beuys chairs

Sturtevant’s 1990 vision of Warhol’s Flowers alongside her 1968 Duchamp film with interpretations of three Beuys chairs

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