Thursday, December 11, 2008

Strange Bedfellows

I teach Life Drawing at night at MECA in Room 302, which is a Foundations drawing classroom by day, and for the past several weeks my students and I have watched this very curious installation evolve in a far corner of said classroom. There has been a pile of cardboard, fabric, old magazines, and other detritus stashed in another corner of the room, and this installation has seemingly risen up out of that rubble. I have been fascinated by this thing from the start - it reminds me of some of my own installation work, of Outsider Art, and of the doll projects that I have been involved in. My students and I tried to interpret the piece - it has mysterious references to Utah and Mel Gibson, and on the corrugated cardboard banner are the words Milk Thistle and Val Kilmer's Abdomen, scrawled in black marker. We finally gave up trying to figure it out and one of my students surmised that the installation's creator was probably "high."
Hmm, yes, that is a distinct possibility...

We never saw anyone working on the installation, though on my way to class recently I bumped into a young man who was scurrying through the double doors in the opposite direction. He nearly dropped a strange object that he was carrying under his arm, and mumbled an apology as he bent quickly to catch it. It was a papier mache head with keys for an eye. When he noticed me staring at it, he flashed me a secretive grin. I said something dumb like, That's ok, and now the head will protect you from future collisions! Still grinning, he hitched the head back up under his arm and sped down the hallway, like he was on some covert mission.

The head made it's appearance in the installation the next week...

I had my camera with me Tuesday night for the Life Drawing final crit, and after the classroom emptied out, I plugged in the Christmas lights that illuminate this mysterious little stage set and took these shots.

What do you make of it?

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