wow or un-wow

le Grand Palais
definitely a grand palace in Paris
definitely a grand place in Paris
even its name is grand
and palatial
to see it from the outside…it is grand
the sculptures on each end
the enormous columns
the French flag atop
to see if from the inside…equally grand
Ferris Wheel in the Grand Palais Paristhe massive green wrought-iron
the endless glass ceiling
the incredibly high glass ceiling
(i’ve seen a full size ferris wheel inside it!)
the expansive floor
the space
the space
the space
(13,500 square meters of space…actually)
the grand palais delivers a wow
even when it is empty

Anselm Keifereach year
for the past few years
the grand palais has invited a single artist
to create in her space
to create a single work in her space
to create a wow inside her wow

Anselm Kiefer 2007
Richard Serra 2008
Christian Boltanski 2010
Anish Kapoor 2011

i experienced Anish Kapoor’s Leviathan
it was a wow
an amazing wow
an enormous wow
270,000 people thought so

this year
the grand palais invited
Daniel Buren
Daniel Buren Monumenta 2012to create wow within her wow
at least in my opinion
it didn’t quite happen

it was interesting
it was colorful
it was playful
but it wasn’t wow

he covered the space
with translucent circles
Daniel Buren Monumenta 2012circles of color
of four colors
about 4 meters off the floor

the light shone in
the color shone on the floor
one walked around in the midst of it all
it was nice
but it wasn’t quite wow

i kept thinking to myself
what could he have done differently?
vary the colors?
vary the spacing?
vary the height?
yes, that’s it
vary the height!

i think he could have
taken advantage of
the space
the height
the spiritual pull upward
by gradually
sloping the circles upward
as they approached the center
thereby creating
a colorful vortex
pulling upward
into the sky
beyond the glass ceiling
of the grand palais

i also think
it would have been better
to suspend the circles
from the ceiling
instead of from the floor
to create feeling of
a feeling of
floating in air
of the colorful circles

hey…but what do i know!

i do know
that when you get a chance like this
in a place like this
with a budget like this
with a public like this

it really needs to be a


have you seen something lately
that succeeded in wow
that missed the wow