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Installation view of Pipilotti Rist's Pour Your Body Out (7354 Cubic Meters) at the Museum of Modern Art, 2008
Courtesy the artist, Luhring Augustine and Hauser & Wirth
© 2008 Pipilotti Rist
Photo © Frederick Charles,
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MoMA’s Sex Change
by Jerry Saltz

The deliciously named Swiss miss Pipilotti Rist, who for two decades has been ravishing viewers with her fiesta-colored video visions, has risen to new heights of trippy bliss. Her opulently beautiful 25-by-200-foot wraparound video at MoMA -- complete with two round breast-shaped projector pods protruding from the walls and close-ups of pink tulips, a black pig and a fleshy nude -- is catnip for the eye and a hormonal rush for an institution badly in need of one. It is one of the most seductively rebellious artistic gestures since Lynda Benglis’ notorious Artforum ad in 1974, for which she posed naked wielding a dildo. Benglis’ action slapped a biased art world awake; Rist’s Pour Your Body Out (7354 Cubic Meters) suspends us in a primordial sea of liquids, and performs a metaphysical sex change on the Museum of Modern Art. The atrium of this bastion of masculinism becomes a womb, and the museum itself a woman. In an abstract way, Rist makes the institution ovulate.