Saturday, November 24, 2012

Vito's Playhouse

When I wandered into the gallery, the first thing that caught my eye was the set of 4 American flags, framed with window cuts and thought, ok, another Jasper Johns variant.  After all, the American flag is the most recognizable and often, hated icon in the world today.  But I saw the system of pulleys as well and rope and swing.  Still, it didn't quite register.  I've seen these post-modern symbolic installations before -- yet another one, I thought, all subject to interpretation.  Holes through the flag in strategic areas.  I sat there for a few minutes trying to find a decent photographic angle.  The MCASD museum guard stood there watching me, as if wanting me to talk to him on this quiet Monday during Thanksgiving week.  So I asked, "Does it work?"
Heck yeah. Start by sitting on the left, he said and then rock toward the right and magically, each panel will start rising.  But little did I know what was really on the outside -- thinking it was just the reverse image of the stars and stripes.  Nope.  Hammer and sickle.  That's strange, the Soviet Union had been dissolved for at least a couple decades, so what's the relevance of the piece.  Of course, I didn't read the description of the piece until after I finished playing around with it.  Built in 1980, at the height of the Cold War, Vito Acconci's "Instant House" was a throwback to the days when everyone took sides, either inside or outside.

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