Because he could, the artist Olafur Eliasson took a hydrogen-powered BMW race car, removed the shell, draped it with mesh and steel panels, dragged it into a giant freezer at SFMOMA, and sprayed it with 260 gallons of water, much of which froze in a shimmering lattice shell. Viewing his piece Your mobile expectations: BMW H2R project is just as exciting. First, you get in a line (there was a lot of line-up art this year at the museum, don't you think?). There are blankets on the wall, so of course everybody bundles up like you think they might die. After a brief lecture (the representative says you may stay in as long you like, and by God we d-d-did), you're ushered into the freezer to circle the piece like you're shopping for a car on a glacier. It's part superhero ice vehicle, part giant frozen beetle exoskeleton. Although the ice is drawn about the car in brilliant patterns, the car itself is nearly hidden. You can see some tanks and a gear shift, and if you get down on your knees in front you can see the wheels -- we suggest you do. They only let a handful of people in at a time, but since groups tend toward herd mentality, everybody leaves at once, and you can get a few moments of silent auto-Arctic wonderment before the next group arrives -- or you turn blue.
Dec. 14-Jan. 13, 2007