Heidi Pollard’s “Eames Redux: House of Cards Homage” brings Gallery 51’s window to life.
The Difficulty of Play
While North Adam’s MASS MoCA celebrates the grand opening of Building 6 this month, just down the street Gallery 51 embraces its playful side as guest-curator Corwin Levi tackles the most ambitious of art enterprises: participation.
The centerpiece of Babel’s Bricks, a block-themed group show, is a series of pedestals covered with colorful Legos, wooden blocks, Tinkertoys, and other pieces, which the public is invited to assemble into playful configurations. The result is a lively miniature landscape—think Montessori visits the Island of Misfit Toys. Levi, who admits he loved “building new worlds” out of mismatched block sets as a boy, invites us to participate in a social experiment meant to channel our inner child.
After spending three hours at the show’s opening, I concluded that we adults are pretty horrible at play. Even when signage made it clear that visitors were not only allowed to touch the toy blocks, but encouraged to