Nina Katchadourian’s CURIOUSER at Stanford’s Cantor Art Center

Last weekend, I attended my twenty-year reunion on the Stanford campus. Years of bad sitcom plots led me to expect the worst, but I was relieved to see how low-key and friendly everything was. The real issue was fitting in all of the programs I wanted to attend, and I was only partly successful on that front. I did manage to visit the Cantor Art Center, however, and see Nina Katchadourian’s Curiouser, running through January 7.

I was attending Stanford when Katchadourian’s father Herant taught multiple courses there, though I never had a chance to fit one into my schedule. (One friend of mine loved his Sleep and Dreams class, while another was surprised at how difficult his Human Sexuality course was. Feel free to add your own punchline.) The Berlin- and Brooklyn-based Nina Katchadourian is Stanford-born, and Curiouser is filled with the glorious bits of cognitive dissonance and intellectual play that highlighted my favorite parts of Stanford life. Of course, Katchadourian’s concepts are very much her own, and quite delightful. Take Talking Popcorn, featured at the Cantor:

The voracious reader in me loves her Sorted Books series, while the author in me hopes to be featured in it someday. As for her Seat Assignment series (which I refuse to spoil for you, since you’ll be visiting this exhibition yourself), I will say just two things:

1) I walked out murmuring “She’s awesome, she’s awesome, she’s AWESOME!”

2) Katchadourian claims that AC/DC’s band name is usually pronounced “Acca Dacca” in Australia and New Zealand. I have no reason to doubt her, and yet “Acca Dacca” sounds more like the name of an ABBA cover act than one suiting the late, great Bon Scott (that’s right, I accept no other era of the band!), schoolboy uniforms, and guitar wizardry. If some kind Aussie or Kiwi is out there willing to confirm or deny, please drop science in the comments!

The Cantor Art Center is open six days a week (closed Tuesdays) at 328 Lomita Drive on the Stanford campus. Admission is free, but hours vary. Phone (650) 723-4177 or visit the museum website for details.

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