The show included five video installations that likewise focus on individuals, in locations ranging from a dance club to an art museum, against simple backgrounds, so their actions and words speak for themselves. This one, for instance, "Ruth Drawing Picasso," was nearly six minutes of a single shot of a girl making her own sketch of a Picasso painting (this visitor-shot excerpt is just 42 seconds):
And as boring as that may sound, the film kept me fascinated for all six minutes, simply because it felt so wonderfully rare and fresh to do nothing but look at another human being for a sustained period of time, as Ms. Dijkstra does. More than that, Ruth doesn't seem self-conscious about being watched, as many of the kids in the dance-club videos do (and as I always do on camera); she sighs, draws a line, scratches it out, gropes for a pencil, looks around at her friends, looks up at the painting and down at her paper again, draws another line. . . . It's such an honest portrait of the creative process, and of a human being in general, that I felt my heart warm toward Ruth for all of her particularities, including those I recognized in myself. Thus the exhibition did what the best art (to me) always does: It made me love the world more, and the people in it, in all of our vulnerable, pained, ephemeral glory, and made me feel thankful we're all here together -- with Ms. Dijkstra and her camera to capture us.
At the Guggenheim, Fifth Avenue and 89th St., through October 8.