Kunsthaus, Zurich: A (Soft Porn) Romance

Ausstellungsansicht Kunsthaus Zürich, Juni 2013, © Kunsthaus Zürich, Foto: Lena Huber
Ausstellungsansicht Kunsthaus Zürich, Juni 2013, © Kunsthaus Zürich, Foto: Lena Huber

In Zurich working with a few extra hours to kill on a Sunday, what to do? Kunsthaus Museum, Zurich, why not make the best of the day with a dose of predominantly white, male European and American masters? Admittedly, the art I typically consume requires a price tag to draw me. Attending museums can be like reading history books for me; I need to be teaching a class for the impetus to do so. Or books in general for that matter, though I shouldn’t admit lest I sound too much like Posh Spice who is said to have never creased a spine.
On exhibit, in addition to the monumental permanent holdings were a group of abstractions soon to be donated by retired Swiss entrepreneur, Hubert Looser, comprising a slew of de Koonings, Twomblys, Kellys, Rymans and more. This is a short story of experiencing art as aphrodisiac in the context of a glorious museum.
The twenty-minute queue to get in was heartening as an indication of the fevered temperature of art today; that is until I was rudely informed of the twenty-five CHF required for an all access pass. Then again, how else can you attain such a kick of immediate gratification for what amounts to $27.11 (at present exchange rates)? Chocolate, music, a great movie, or a rock of crack, maybe?
Trying to rent a locker for my oversized umbrella (can never be too cautious) for yet another two CHF, I futilely attempted to stuff a coin in when I reached out for help and was informed it was a Euro I was force-feeding into the device rather than the required Swiss Franc. That’s me, always trying to shove a square peg into a round hole.
But before I knew it, I was wowed by an act of common courtesy and humanity rarely encountered. Not only did the kind gentleman beside me offer to give me the money outright for the locker, he labored over the damn thing when (no surprise here) I still couldn't get it to work. There you have it, true kindness is possible in the name of art.
First up, a bit of the permanent collection housed in the Giacometti Rooms, and there are many, served up with a dose of Picasso, obscure Bacon and others; you must love this country. You really must.  Upon exiting the galleries, I repeatedly murmured under my breadth, Tourette-like, thank you, thank you, thank you to the point I’m almost positive the unsuspecting security guard was about to call for back-up support. Am I the only one talking to myself more and more? Don't answer please.
There is an informative article available online at Bloomberg.com, by Catherine Hickey, entitled, "Swiss Magnate Looser Spends Fortune on Art, Gives It Away", that sheds light on his motivations in accumulating the cache over the years. Apparently Looser informed his children that the collection was cultural goods to be forfeited to a public institution rather then in the form of inheritable wealth; if I told my kids that, I’d end up in the basement chained to the radiator for a few years.
His collecting career came to a halt because he grew tired of “haggling with dealers”, which can also amount to an enjoyable contact sport – I think he was weary of the game, which is exhausting, confounding and strenuous. I actually slipped a disc lifting an Ai Weiwei ceramic stool once. After he attained a certain plateau of success, Looser strove to transform his money into art, which he just as easily could have accomplished by giving a chunk of it to me; I consider myself pretty handy at dispensing cash.

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