If you’re wondering why I’m having all of these hot dates with myself, I should start at the beginning of my tale, when in June of 2017 I was abruptly dumped by a major dumb-dumb with a wandering eye. While being relegated to the status of chopped liver by my boyfriend initiated my experiment with dating myself, I should emphasize the fact that I have since discovered that it’s much more exciting to take myself on dates than it is to drag an unenthusiastic man-slug about. In fact, I never ever want to stop dating myself. I’m committed to this monogamous love of myself! Swoon!
Well, in June I didn’t feel so hot. Most of that month was spent getting my bloated, out-of-shape heart back into prime fitness. What I needed was a Richard Simmons-style introduction to love. Encouraging, embracing, sweaty. I began taking myself out to romantic gardens and hikes, easing myself into the idea that there was life after love. But, to truly lose myself in this lifestyle of romantic calisthenics, I needed a wholly cathartic and cleansing experience, putting my seemingly devastating problems of a trodden heart into perspective.
To accomplish this, I decided to visit Nick Cave’s immersive, massive, and stunningly gorgeous exhibition, titled Until, on display at MASS MoCA during the summer of 2017. Cave created the exhibition to visually confront the problems of racism permeating American society, hinging the controversy of gun violence and race stereotypes from the hanging preposition Until– “Innocent Until proven guilty,” or, in this case, “Guilty Until proven innocent.” Cave elaborates in his interview with the New York Times: “I had been thinking about racism and gun violence colliding, and then I wondered: Is there racism in heaven?” This question reverberates throughout the body of Until.
Upon entering the football field-sized building No.5 at MASS MoCA, I had in mind the familiar image of Cave’s remarkable Sound Suits, but I was not prepared for the overwhelming density of beauty, intersecting with violence, racism, and politics. I mean, I was simply blown away.
At the entrance to the exhibition, I was met with 16,000 wind spinners, and a meandering path to follow through the whirling, glinting curtains of ornaments. The beauty of the shiny and distracting objects betrayed images of guns and targets. A reminder of proverbial glistering. Emerging from this forest of spinners, I paused in amazement. At the heart of Cave’s installation existed a marvelous floating world, dripping with over ten miles of crystal, and 24 chandeliers, and backed by miles of net made out of shoelaces and millions of pony beads.
Here, Cave’s idea is posed: “Is there racism in heaven?” To arrive at this question, one must climb up one of four ladders that support the hovering heaven on earth and peer into a bric-a-brac utopia made of thousands of ceramic and metal birds, fruits, and flowers. Hidden within this Eden-like world are 17 cast-iron Jocko lawn jockeys, their black-face style countenances smiling back at you from behind a spray of faux flowers.
It’s an uncomfortable feeling to be tickled and amused by fantastical flora and fauna in one moment, and then to suddenly be reminded by Jim Crow-era-style stooping ornaments that racism cannot be ignored or covered up by ornament and material mass. Cave’s Until forced me to consider a deeper wound; a collective mar on the face of society’s psyche. And while my romantic heart did ache, as I balanced on the top of a ladder, staring into a fabricated heaven made of ceramic robins, golden pigs, and glass grapes, I knew that my heartache was singular, temporary, and would ease with time. Before me lay a bigger heartache– the drawn-out, festering heartache of America: racism. And, as I embrace my quest to love myself, and take myself on 100 hot dates, I am reminded along the way by beautiful places, thoughtful people, and provoking art installations of the larger scheme of love, and all of its capacity.
What a marvellous date for yourself. I love how you are embracing your inner worth once again after what must have been a difficult time. Your approach to this idea is wonderful and my word, what a beautiful piece of art within a cave. One could not take her eyes off it. I cannot fathom how long thks must have taken to create but what a beautiful accomplishment. It must have been a delight for you in real life. Thank you for these lovely trips you share. It’s almost like being on a virtual date from a perspective.
Thank you, Sonea. 🙂 Yeah, the initial shock of having my heart torn out by someone I trusted was painful, but I learned rather quickly, through my experience of taking myself on little dates, that I had been waiting around to have fun with a person who was not….well, fun. In the meantime, I’ve been having a proverbial ball! I highly recommend that you wear your favorite outfit and make a date with yourself. Also, the Nick Cave exhibition was absolutely gorgeous, and I’m sad that I deleted a few of my photos from the exhibition. I hope that he creates another installation in the near future. Nick Cave is so talented!
Well, have a lovely February! Mwah!
This sounds like a haunting and thought-provoking exhibit – a concept I never, in a million years, would have thought of.
It was an absolutely immersive exhibition. There was no escaping the confrontation with beauty and disturbance. I just love Nick Cave’s work!