The work I selected to use for the Whitney Museum “close reading” is:
The John Ripenhoff Experience 2013/2017
Wood, ladder, house paint, and light bulb
March 17th– April 17th
Featuring: Nicholas Frank (b. 1987)
Minifinity (after Stanley Landsman) Mirrored and tinted Plexiglas, armature and seed lights
There is a line of people waiting to climb a five-stair ladder that is leading to a small wooden box. The wooden ladder and box are painted white. As you approach the top of the ladder (by stair three) you begin to see the inside of the box. The box is small and only large enough for possible shoulder width entrance into its encasement. The beauty of the featured piece was the lighting. The featured pieces vary by dates of the Biennial Show. The lights are arranged in a pattern of diagonal and encompass the entire inside of the boxed structure. The line of eagerly awaiting art observers draws a potential viewer in, with the intrigue of potentially missing something of value or to be part of the in crowd. The representation is that of a line of people waiting to be able to get into the in crowd or select few that persevere to view the piece. The overall representation of the piece is that you are going up the stairs into the unknown. The curiosity drives you to await the chance to see for yourself. The color of the box and ladder made the piece at first blend into the background wall. The realistic view of stairs against a wall created the contrast and curiosity; lending to a question to oneself, why are people srtanding there? The style is intriguing as the contents of the box are best described when seen in person. As you enter the enclosed space, the lights are the prize and made the wait worthwhile. While reading the placard with the “Mirrored and tinted Plexiglas, armature and seed lights” left much to the imagination. The elements communicate that you are entering a different place, like the attic of one’s home or the inner compartments of someone’s world.