Tile and Fashion

Project is set in a dicey dual time zone. The exhibition space will be dismantled in a year or two (average in Dia time), but the bookstore is meant to last. The glass wall is the key. It will provide a view and a reminder that each part is living without its other, that this Siamese twin of an installation was separated after its second year and that the other half "died." This will set up an interesting echo.

The gamble Project takes is what this echo will say to the future. We already know that in the present it's successful and pleasurable. Someday, I think Project will say, "In the year 2000, money had come into the land, no war loomed on America's horizon, none had besmirched its recent past. Design was the new fashion, style and real estate were religions. The period had an abundance of time to contemplate glamour, artifice, interior decoration, and design—the luxury of thinking seriously about unserious things."

Is this empty modernism’s beautiful shell?: Pardo’s Project (detail, 2000) at Dia.
photo: Robin Holland
Is this empty modernism’s beautiful shell?: Pardo’s Project (detail, 2000) at Dia.


Jorge Pardo
Dia Center for the Arts
542 West 22nd Street

Project is beautiful, but its beauty is very specific. It's not Keatsian, deep, terrible, or romantic. To his credit, Pardo avoids the pitfalls of art-about-art-as-design. He sidesteps satire's finger-pointing, and skirts parody's merriness. Pardo's daring, if you can call it that, is that he is so utterly willing to occupy the devalued quality of pleasantness. He gives himself over, and makes himself vulnerable in so doing. This is courageous and, in the end, even a little radical. Pardo's Project will provide clues about our ambivalence, capriciousness, ambition, and good fortune. Hopefully, the future will look at the more bottomless clues we're leaving as well.

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