Which brings us to the final element of Kruger’s Performa outing. Advance information on Untitled (The Drop) was scant, and for good reason: Anyone who knew what they were getting into might have decided to stay home. The biennial has billed this as a performance, but that’s true only by wildly stretching what you consider the genre to include. A small storefront space on Broadway has been converted into a pop-up shop selling Barbara Kruger branded sweatshirts ($70), patches ($15), beanies ($40), and skate decks ($65), among other items. That’s it.
“Ten minutes inside, and you can only buy two things,” said a staffer manning the slow-moving line out front. “The pop-up is the performance,” he clarified. I overheard a biennial staffer explaining to a man in line that “it’s about patience, and waiting, and desire.”
At this point the air was heavy with a whiff of anticlimax. People were exiting the store holding Volcom-branded bags. (Volcom was a partner on the pop-up, and the company’s brand ambassador Steve Rodriguez had collaborated with the artist on her Coleman Skate Park project.) A few teenage skaters were milling around at the curb, joined by art lovers wearing sweatshirts that read “Want It. Buy It. Forget It.” I heard a grown human being introduced to another grown human being as a “designer and impresario,” and no one laughed about it.