This spring the Art Institute of Chicago welcomes to the Bluhm Family Terrace a theatrical installation by Spanish sculptor Juan Muñoz (1953–2001) that flips the experience of viewer and viewed. Many of Muñoz’s works unfold like stories in which the spectator is written into the drama. In the case of Thirteen Laughing at Each Other (2001), the viewer is thrust right into the centre of the scene. By entering the installation space, one is surrounded by laughing figures seated on bleacher-like structures. From this vantage point, it quickly becomes clear that Muñoz is not merely granting the viewer unusual access to the artwork but also shifting the role of the observer to that of an unwitting subject, and potentially even an object of ridicule as the sculptural figures laugh hysterically – some toppling from their seats – at the spectacle in their midst. Read more.
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