slightly wonky

Barry, I’m your number one fan…

I went downtown this week.


Lots of people were milling around the site of the bombing on Boylston Street.    There was actually a small crowd of cops and individuals with prosthetic legs, possibly veterans?, chatting and talking to people who stopped by to visit the site.  I know that it would be bad for business…but I almost wish that this spot could stay boarded up like this.  It won’t, though, and I know that it shouldn’t.  But a statue or a plaque in this location to mark the significance is so much less powerful than seeing the boarded up storefronts.  The grim blankness of the closed windows is mirrored in the faces of those who stop and stare.  There was also something poignant about people both walking past, a sign of the return to normalcy, and people standing in reverential silence.  Everyone here is still obsessed with the event and the victims.

Eventually, I headed down to South Boston to check out what’s up at the ICA.  I used to work in South Boston, so it was nice to be back there.


I used to work on that street!  Looks the same as I remember.  Other parts in the area look MUCH different:


Mural by Os Gemeos

LOVE IT!  This work has been somewhat controversial.  Some people found it to be disturbing, but I think it’s a fascinating mural on an irregularly shaped building facade.  This used to be a plain, flat, gray metal facade.  But, now LOOK!  He’s just hanging out like everyone else on the lawn!  I like the ambiguity of his expression and partially hidden face.  He’s SO big and obtrusive, and yet he appears to be trying to almost hide and make himself small and unnoticed.  FASCINATING.  I’m glad that I finally got to see this in person.  Here’s what else I saw right near him:


Brilliant!  There is a little grouping of food trucks right across from him…and I loved the local “flavah” of this one.  As much as I love the Boston accent, I get worried when I hear my son say words in a slightly Boston way.  I’ve had to explain to him that “hair” is a single syllable word.  It’s “hair”, not “HAY-ER.”  I wasn’t born in Massachusetts, so I’d feel like a fraud if my son sounded like a local.  I should have bought one of the cookies to really get a sense of the flavor, right???  I wonder if they sell the raw dough?  I would happily have gnawed on a blob of dough whilst sunning myself on the lawn in front of the enormous, reclining “dude”.


Edouard Manet, Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe

Not to be confused with this reclining nude.  See how far we’ve come in art?  Now, instead of a nude female having lunch with a couple of clothed men on a lawn, we have a larger than life oddball peering at us from beneath the sweatshirt he’s wrapped around his head!


I love the ICA.  I don’t always remotely grasp the content of the work, but I still love going.  Right now, they have the work of Barry McGee up.  He’s a painter / graffiti artist from San Francisco.  His work is amazing and I bask in his artistic brilliance.  The show is incredible, with works of a stunning variety of scale, color, and medium.  I love the dark humor throughout his work.  He had written his name, “McGee” on a wall with what looked like wishbones from chickens.  I wish that I’d taken a picture of it.  Brilliant.

a-bmcgee2Barry McGee at the ICA, Boston

That is so amazing.  EACH DRAWING that makes up this piece is amazing.  This faux living room wall with an amorphous “growth” of these drawings was phenomenal.  I don’t want to gush, but I will.  GO SEE THIS NOW.  I LOVE how this is so compelling from far away AND up close.  Look:


Barry McGee at the ICA, Boston

Look at all of these amazing sketches, collages, drawings, photos, etc.!!!  Each one is a fantastic and bizarre little world to get lost in.  Stunning.


Barry McGee at the ICA, Boston

Again, SO amazing.  A wall of whiskey (??) bottles hung by wire in a giant cluster.  Who is this population of disturbing men???  On the surface, each face is different…but they all share a common core and they are all empty and “hanging by a thread.”  Again, it’s compelling from a distance AND from up close:


Barry McGee at the ICA, Boston

Don’t you love the limited color palette and vintage look to the style of illustration?  I love their neat, shiny hair and unnerving expressions.

a-bmcgee3Barry McGee at the ICA, Boston

Okay.  THESE drawings were INCREDIBLE.   They are ballpoint pen on paper.    Each “face” appears almost as a mask made from shiny human hair and like a collection of strange tribal fetishes.  These may have been the most mind-blowing drawings for me.  They are disturbing…beautiful…strange…and done with a BALLPOINT PEN.  I could have spent the day pouring over each one.  Together, especially in that mass, they are imposing.  While they are mask-like, the eyes are not vacant but staring back at you…tiny deities from a mysterious religion.

Please go see this show.  Call me, and we’ll go together so that I GUSH over everything with you as my unwilling audience.  Sound good?  Okay, it’s open at 10 tomorrow…see you then.


Barry McGee at the ICA, Boston

LOOK.  AT.  THIS.  These are little patterned color swatches that FILL THE WALL and are configured in a unique way each time they are installed.  I desperately wanted to touch them, but I didn’t.  I would never do something like that, but I can admit that I WANTED to.  Again, I could have pulled up a chair and basically sat all day staring at this.  Is the breadth of his talent not mind-blowing?????  I have to end this commentary soon, as I’m running out of superlatives.

a-bmcgee7Barry McGee at the ICA, Boston

The bulging wall behind was incredible.  This tower of TVs fit so perfectly with the context of the show.  I am so glad that this show has an extensive range of his work.  I would love each piece individually…but the entire show makes you dizzy and awestruck.  Next time I’ll get myself a blob of that cookie dough, bring a lawnchair, and sit myself down in front of this totem of TVs for the afternoon.  The staff will love me.  (Maybe if I share my cookie dough they actually will love me?  Maybe not?  What would Barry do???)

Strangely enough, I came home to find my son creating something that felt similar:


Okay.  Not quite.  I know that some kids build with Lego, but this is what my son was up to.  Somehow though…this multicolored blob of Lego on the rug struck me as fitting in with my Barry McGee afternoon.  (I hope that he wouldn’t be offended for me to say that.)  Actually, the fact that he’s being written about in this blog is probably offensive enough to him.  Hmm.  If he writes me to complain, I’ll be sympathetic.  I might even put down my blob of cookie dough to give him my full attention as I read his enraged comments about my misguided analysis of his work.  I flatter myself to think that he would contact me.  If he does contact me, I’ll remind him that I LOVE his work and that I did NOT touch any of it, never mind get cookie dough on it…

Maybe I’ll hold off on telling him, “I’m your number one fan…”


Okay, I’m going to stop wearing my hair like that…IMMEDIATELY.  I’m also going to end the post here because I’m starting to freak myself out…


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