Visiting The West Collection was like visiting a cutting-edge contemporary museum or gallery, except it's in the midst of a corporate workplace, SEI. Art is just part of the employee environment, kind of like having it in your home while you are at work. It's in the snack bar, near your desk, everywhere you randomly go.
I would have never driven for almost an hour in the rain to get there, if it were not part of a class I am taking with the Barnes Foundation, called ART NOW. Knowing our small group would get a behind the scenes tour from the Director of the collection, I made the trek.
Dining Table, above, by Michael Beitz, is edgy, and both humorous and sad. We can all relate to not really seeing the person on the other side of the table.
Reading Room by the more established artist Long-Bin Chen is carved from telephone books from Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. Because of the setting and our class we were allowed to touch, in a way that we couldn't have in a museum. It was strange to partially pull out a phone book - a piece of cheek - and be able to touch the pages, feel the softness, and see the names of hundreds of people. Telephone books are now ancient artifacts, which I think makes Long-Bin Chen's many carved Buddhas and figures all the more of interest! They capture a moment in time, and also tell us something about waste and the ultimate recycling, as well as being beautiful.
Check it out for yourself! http://www.westcollection.org
No surprise that the curator of the collection recently gave a talk called "Imagining What Comes After Museums?"