A group walking through “Like A Patient Etherized Upon A Table: MOCA Goes Dark” via Twitter
My husband and I went to an event at MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles) last night where small groups of people at a time walked blindfolded throughout the museum. We would walk a few steps, following the sound of jangling keys until it stopped. Then a museum security guard (a few of them volunteered to be there) would read us a snippet of T.S. Eliot or another modernist poet.
The point was to parallel the loss of vision with “the bewilderment that many experience when viewing contemporary art without a point of entry.” But my takeaway was different. There was something so powerful about the security guards as the main event. The voices that read to us were black, or female, or clearly speaking English as a second language. It felt like a commentary about the art world - who stars in it, curates it and consumes it (the crowd last night was mostly white and I imagine that most of the works on the walls that we couldn’t see were created by white artists), versus the security guards who stand there invisibly working their day jobs.
In a way, it was the most radical art show I’d ever been to, and the most unexpectedly affecting. Driving home we passed by the Occupy Los Angeles tents outside of City Hall. They too seemed to be silently on guard for our benefit.