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 surrounded by death, but we never stop to question that, if it was our last day, would we be truly happy with the life we led?
When entering the “Dirge: Reflections on [Life and] Death” exhibition I was instantly drawn to Epitaph. This installation was created in 2011, which represents one of Reyes’s larger interactive projects, Sanatorium. The major things this piece consists of are wires and pieces of paper that are clipped onto them and placed differently throughout each row. When I first viewed this work I completely overlooked it because the appearance didn’t look like any other works of art in the exhibition. I decided to go back and examine it, and I realized it is so simple yet so profound. When viewing this from further away it…

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