De Dites pas non!, 1986/2007. Selections from the Rose Art Museum’s permanent collection and furniture, installation view.

John Armleder: Tasting the Pudding

Products, sounds, images—contemporary culture swamps us with sensory overload. “Too Much, ” opines John Armleder, “is not Enough.” (The quirky capitalization in the show’s title is Armleder’s.) In his first solo U.S. museum installation, Armleder took over the entire 10,000-square-foot exhibition space at the Rose Art Museum in Waltham, Massachusetts, and filled it with a rich, rococo potpourri of objects and experiences, a mini-cosmos that, just like the real world, bombarded the viewer.

Not only is there too much/not enough sensory input, this Swiss artist believes, there is also too much concern with understanding art and not enough participatory enjoyment. “The urge to understand has killed the urge to participate,” he has written. So he collects and displays objects of such dizzying scope and diversity that, he hopes, the viewer will give up any thought of analyzing it all.