This school year I made it a point to enroll in classes that challenge my views on particular subjects. Art has always been a part of my life due to my father’s profession, but it is safe to say that some art domains really just go over my tiny head. Oh, a giant canvas completely covered in blue paint? I DON’T GET IT. A shovel and a pile of dirt in the middle of an exhibit? STOP, WHAT IS GOING ON?! I decided to give a contemporary art class a chance in hopes of sorting out some of the mind boggling confusion that has been laid out for me in the past.
In the middle of September, Navy pier presented 120 of the most influential international artists of contemporary culture. A 30 minute train ride and $15 later (student discount AYOOOO) my friends and I finally arrived to explore some of the deepest pockets of the modern art world.
The first exhibit was literally unavoidable. A 50 foot high architectural piece by Jessica Stockholder made of plastic containers dominated the front room. It was a tornado of color and organizational containers- which made me realize I need better Tupperware, but I digress. Guests were invited to climb the stairs as if to simulate climbing the mountain of plastic that was erected before them.
One of the pieces of art was my favorite mostly because it was interactive and I got to step inside a giant fuzzy nest. The first step was to pick out a bird. Naturally, I chose a prairie chicken. After that you are asked to step into the nest alone and tell a deep secret. The microphone distorts your voice and replaces the sound waves with the chirps of the bird of choice. So basically I heard my secret being relayed to me by a prairie chicken. Satisfying you ask? Yeup. Obscure? For sure.
120 exhibits later and my brain was going into over-stimulated mode. There was a piece that cost well over $40,000. I’m surprised my body didn’t go into epileptic shock seeing my tuition money in the form of oil pastels. All in all I was honored to support such a revolutionary group of artists with my money and bewildered demeanor. I moved to Chicago to learn about things that the suburbs couldn’t provide for me, as well as challenge my barely solidified opinions about art and artist. Chicago has gone above and beyond to produce an environment for the culturally proactive, and I’m more than happy that I challenged myself with a contemporary art class this quarter.
Check out the Expo Chicago website if you’re thirsty for more.