Monday, June 20, 2011

Thought Provoking Exhibit

 I’m no art connoisseur so it was with bit of skepticism that that I recently greeted Thornton Dial’s “Hard Truths” exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Dial is a folk artist who grew up in Alabama, turning things like paint cans, wire, rusty car parts and straw into art.

Dial’s collection is certainly thought provoking. In fact, here are just of the few of the thoughts I had as I toured the collection.

· Is gluing a Barbie to canvass actually art?
· Is that a goat?
· Is that sanitary?
· I’m glad I ate before this.
· I knew a guy who had stuff like this in his front yard. People thought he was crazy.
· Why would you do that to Mickey Mouse?
· This is kind of scaring me.

Amidst these thoughts, however, I did manage to find a couple of works that appealed to me. The PR guy in me loved the piece about Morley Safer of 60 Minutes fame. Dial apparently felt persecuted by Safer in a piece on the news magazine. (Imagine that). He responded with a piece called “Strange Fruit: Channel 42,” which shows a figure, presumably Dial, hanging from a TV antenna. Sure beats a letter to the editor.

I also appreciate a piece that featured bright flowers blooming against a stark background. The colors popped compared to the rest of collection, which consisted of mostly dark themes like Sept. 11 and racism, portrayed through anguished faces.

The remaining sculptures, drawings, etc. made you think ... even if you just were thinking about keeping the lights on when you got home or how you should have made that guy an offer for the concoction in his front yard.

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