Danh Vo, the Vietnamese-Danish conceptual artist who is part archivist, collector, finder, fabricator, disrupter, juxtaposer-of-things the way the surrealists were meant to be, is leaving the Guggenheim by May 8 (for Bordeaux) but he will leave with me a few gems.
Vo has bought up entire collections of ephemera with an eye towards socio political commentary. Most striking: letters of Leonard Lyons, erstwhile NY Post critic to Henry Kissinger, hilarious with a macabre twist. Lyons who apparently was nothing if not a suck up, routinely wrote to Henry the K to offer house seats to various NY productions, Hello Dolly, the Royal Ballet. From time to time Kissinger did get the ducats. I’m not sure what the pay off for Lyons was, except maybe these letters. Kissinger is mostly begging off for White House dinners, Eisenhower’s funeral, trips to Cambodia and other fun stuff in the 70’s as the war rages. Robert MacNamara’s pen nibs for signing treaties intermingles with giant molds of a re cast Statue of Liberty and small snaps of napalm victims. Here’s a show where I went straight for the wall labels first but it felt ok. I was remarkably moved.