Yesterday a friend and I went down to MOCA to check out Trinket, an exhibition by Chicago-based artist William Pope.L. The centerpiece is a giant American flag, which is being continually buffeted by the wind from four large fans. The space grows brighter and darker at intervals as rows of lights go through pre-programmed cycles. It’s a pretty interesting show that raises lots of complicated questions about this country. I can’t say I felt emotionally engaged, and this is a problem I have with a lot of conceptual art. But it was well worth the trip, and it was cool to see work by an artist who’s willing to really dig into this country’s psyche.
After hitting MOCA, my friend and I went next door to check out the Japanese American National Museum. We spent some time in the galleries that document the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. In a way, it was as though this show was the perfect follow up to the one we’d just seen. Both exhibitions make you think long and hard about this country, and some of the darker aspects of our history.
Then we decided to get some lunch. And this was the scene that caught my eye as we started walking down Central.
A man sleeping on the sidewalk, almost completely covered by an American flag blanket. An odd coincidence, given the shows we’d just seen, bringing up even more questions about where this country’s going.*
If you’re interested in taking a look at William Pope.L’s work, here’s the link for the show at MOCA.
And if you haven’t seen the exhibition at the JANM, I urge you to make the trip down there. Even though the internment happened decades ago, the issues the show raises are absolutely relevant to what’s going on in this country now.
Later it occurred to me that the guy on the sidewalk might actually be a part of the show at MOCA. Even if that’s true, it’s a cool way to bring art out of the gallery and into the street.