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A Hugely Impactful Visit to the Museum


Today I visited the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Being next to my day job I felt like it would be a disservice to myself to not take time and visit.

I approached the person at the desk and inquired about entry. Hearing that I was in theatre, interested in art, and that there was only an hour left he let me in as his guest!

I immediately asked him where the weirdest art was. He gladly told me start on the 4th floor! =P

So there I went to the fourth floor to see Howardena Pindell's traveling exhibition "What Remains to be Seen". I had no idea who she was, what she did, or why she was featured here. But I went onwards into the exhibit and was greeted by this:

I knew I was in the right place.

While some would see it as "weird" I saw it as a meticulous undertaking balancing color, shape, texture, and composition. The media included cut and pasted and painted punched paper, acrylic, watercolor, gouche, ink, thread, nails, mat board, spray adhesive, and plastic on cardboard... Talk about mixed media!!! The vibrancy of it was stunning. I was pumped and ready to see what else she offered...

I started reading the panels and learned that she was an artist of color, and that many of her pieces (made in the 60s and 70s) were about the racial divide and the stigma attached to the color Black.

Also those circles that you see.... HOLE PUNCHES. Those were an incredible undertaking to handle, create, and mount!

After wandering around reading more and more pieces began to jump out at me and their deeper meanings were revealed not just by their description card, but on the pieces themselves. Take a look:

This piece, titled Autobiography: Air (CS560) really shocked me when I saw it initially. You can see from the description text just how big it is! This piece was protesting the use of tear gas! Just incredible.

they kept coming...

This piece took up a whole wall. There was a bench there two I took it in for a while. It is called night flight, and I think it looks like a flower if you let your eyes relax a little. This piece was not only significant for that, but for who I met keeping watch over it.

I met a young security guard with the word "Avant" on his chest. I'll give you a second to get the joke! I was talking to him about weird art. Not just because it was weird but because each person sees it and may take different meaning from it. For example so people in the above photo will see the cosmos, but I saw a flower.

I told him I was in theatre and he said he works in costumes. I immediately said I am looking for a costume designer! Small world. He meant cosplay, but I am still grateful to have met him that day and for the conversation.

I left out some of my favorite images that you just have to see in person. The exhibition goes until May 20th, 2018 on the fourth floor of the MCA Chicago. I hope many of you will get the chance to fully appreciate the art in this and all of the other exhibits!


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