Essay about Two Exhibitions on View at The Museum of Contemporary Art

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The Museum of Contemporary Art currently has two exhibitions on view; one is called “Dirge: Reflections on [Life and] Death,” and the other is “Sara VanDerBeek.” One work of art that stood out the most to me was Epitaph from 2011 by Pedro Reyes. Reyes works are often meant to physically engage his viewers in order to shift their social and emotional expectations. The Epitaph invites his viewers to imagine a future in which they no longer exist, and then create a short message that conveys the life that the viewer has led or hopes to lead. Reyes points out a benefit to this type of therapy, which is that the patients who are participating in this work or art must embrace a certain degree of mortality. In today’s world we are constantly…show more content…
This work of art is considered to be a performative installation, and it is created with materials such as paper, two steel typesets, two hammers, and instructions. The two typesets are placed on a carpet on the ground where you create your own epitaph. The instructions for this work are: Take a few minutes to compose the words for which you will be remembered and write a draft. Once you have completed your draft choose two cards for your epitaph and place them on top of each other. Gently pick up the letters of the metal stamps and hammer your epitaph letter by letter. Once you have completed your lettering, you may place your epitaph in the “cemetery.” Keep the second copy for yourself. When viewing this work from left to right the first thing I noticed was the description of the work of art I was viewing. Next to the description are the instructions, which are stacked and labeled with the numbers 1-5. Then directly below the instructions is a table that holds the materials to complete an epitaph; these materials consist of paper, pencils, and clips. Next, moving past the table to the right, there are seven rows of thin white wires, which are placed into the wall. Then clipped onto the wires are epitaphs, which are spread out from left to right. Finally, below the epitaphs on a black carpet you have two steel typesets and two hammers to create an epitaph. One of the first things that caught my eye
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