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It Only Looks Like a Jungle Gym

Don’t hang on the art, please.


Don’t climb on the conceptual art at the Guggenheim! Even if the concept seems to be about climbing. Rirkrit Tiravanija’s recent installation at the museum, Untitled 2002 (he promised), pays homage to architect R.M. Schindler’s West Hollywood home with a grid of chrome and steel. “It looks like a playground with monkey bars,” says Jennifer Yank, a tourist from Dallas. “It’s pretty much inviting you to climb.” But when she scaled it, she was accosted by security. She wasn’t alone: Ten minutes later, two European tourists were reproached after one announced, “I’m going to get my daily exercise,” and tried a pull-up. The museum has called the piece a “platform for improvisation and interaction.” They described the artist as “inviting the public to enter into and literally engage with his work.” When the Euro-exerciser called the guard over to the description of the piece, saying, “Look, we’re allowed to do what we want,” he was ignored. “It might look like a structure for climbing,” says Kevin Lotery, a co-curator of the show, “but that would be dangerous, both for the piece and the visitors.”

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