In The Weight of Things, Israeli-born, New York–based artist Dana Levy depicted an interior in the Palace of Versailles in the midst of an earthquake. Working from a 19th-century etching of the bedroom of the French king Louis XIV, Levy animated the intricate details of the room, from sculptures, wall moldings, and picture frames to furniture and balustrades.
Each of the furnishings begins to tremble slowly, in sync with the soundtrack—a compilation from actual earthquakes. One by one, the elements of decor fall to the floor, leaving heaps of rubble surrounded by bare walls. Versailles, the lavish seat of French royalty from 1682 until the French Revolution in 1789, represents one of Western Europe’s last absolute monarchies. In The Weight of Things, this symbol of undemocratic power and control is destroyed by an act of nature, ending in a moment of silence. Here Levy strips away the materiality of such spaces, exposing the fragility of a world built on consumption and inequity.
New Media Series is devoted to showcasing film and video as an integral part of contemporary art practice. Currents 119: Dana Levy, an exhibition of three new works by the artist, will be on view concurrently in Gallery 250.
This exhibition is curated by Hannah Klemm, associate curator of modern and contemporary art, and Molly Moog, research assistant for modern and contemporary art. The Weight of Things has a running time of 2 minutes, 30 seconds.
Location: Gallery 301
Exhibition Date: February 26–August 15, 2021