The First Cut's the Deepest

Rivane Neuenschwander's New Museum Exhibit

rivane neuenschwander at the new museum!

Significant others come and go, but the memory of your first love is hard to shake. Now you can turn those painful feelings into art at the New Museum’s oddly charming show by Brazilian conceptualist Rivane Neuenschwander.

The multimedia artist, whose work is inspired by everything from comic books to Coppola films, often invites audience participation. (In “I Wish Your Wish,” museumgoers choose ribbons printed with people’s private yearnings and leave behind wishes of their own.)

But the jaw-dropper here is “First Love,” for which Neuenschwander has hired a forensic artist to sit with visitors and draw portraits as they describe old boyfriends and girlfriends from memory.

Think of it as going one step beyond sitting with Marina Abramović at MoMA’s recent hit exhibition. There, you were part of the action one minute, replaced by another attention hog the next. Here, you actually leave your mark.

If only that high school heartbreaker knew his face was up there.

Rivane Neuenschwander: a Day like Any Other runs through September 19 at the New Museum, 235 Bowery, at Prince Street (212-219-1222 or newmuseum.org). To make an appointment with the sketch artist, e-mail firstlove@newmuseum.org.

Photo: Benoit Pailley, installation view of “Rivane Neuenschwander: a Day like Any Other” 

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235 Bowery
@ Prince St
New York, NY 10002