It is not often that you get to be in the presence of a noted genius and get to listen to her thoughts.  On October 18th, MacArthur Genius Fellow Sarah Sze spoke about her work, art, and the current site-specific installation at the High Museum of Art. Contemporary artist Sze will represent the United States in the 2013 Venice Biennale.

Artists Susan Sze and C. David Trivino, Esq.

In her lecture, Sze shared that the High Museum installation is composed of common everyday items.  She took a page from Andy Warhol, who was also fascinated by how objects are used equally by everyone.  He noted that even the President of the United States drinks out of the same plastic disposable water bottle as we do.  In Sze’s installation, you witness objects like water bottles, her airline ticket, and an eclectic mix of stuff arranged in a way that changes perspective as you walk around it.

Sze is fascinated with the concept of perspective.  For instance, from a distance the Pyramids have one form, but as you get closerthey change.  She show cased a slide from a show at MoMA, whereas she took a red Jeep Cherokee and sliced it apart and placed in the atrium of the very symmetrical building.  From a distance you could see the motion and burst of the objects, but as you drew closer you saw the intimacy of the interior. She was fascinated by the parts book that had all the bits and pieces that makes up this mass of a car.

Rather than creating her works as an architect, she is more of a scientist talking about the dynamics of physics and the surrounding world, trying to capture what happens with the interaction.

In another slide show, she tried to re-create a planetarium with the stars and the moons within the sphere of the building.

Her approach is to take a shift in scale and discover a new path. As she notes, “How we can take simple items and place value on them? Usually moments that shape us force us to focus on the mundane.”

Sze also plays with boundaries, so when you go see the exhibit at the High Museum, don’t be afraid to walk up to it. There are taped lines on the floor and there are lines connecting the piece vertically and horizontally.  As you move into the space, be aware of what is going on. The perspective shifts with the everyday objects.

Sze, when I asked her why she chose a Jeep, said she did so because of the shape; it was the prelude to the SUV. It was an odyssey. Once she found the car in a salvage yard, she took it apart, painted it and moved the divided pieces, getting a lot of odd looks as a result. “The painters were like ‘Why do you want these divided parts painted?’” Sze noted as she gave a devilish smile.

Sze has accomplished her goal of making each of us to take a moment to see the world in a different way. So stop and take a moment and check out her installation at the High.  It is part of a much larger exhibit on a 100 year retrospective on contemporary art.

For more info and information on upcoming events and current exhibits visit:

For artist  Susan Sze at


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