London Exhibition: Crack is Whack!


The Tate Modern in London has been an undeniable success since it opened seven years ago, but I can’t say that I’ve seen much art there with a pronounced wow factor. However, the new installation in the museum’s vast Turbine Hall by the Colombian artist Doris Salcedo may yank my opinion of the place around a bit. Called “Shibboleth,” the work starts as a hairline crack at the top of the ramp near the west entrance of the hall and zigzags 167 meters down to the far end, deepening and widening as it runs. Salcedo says the crack refers to the evils of racism — especially the divide between the black and white tribes of humanity — but the viewer is free to project all kinds of meaning. The artist refuses to divulge whether she created the work and had it set on the gallery floor or whether she took a jackhammer to the building’s concrete itself. Either way: impressive.

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