Monday, January 2, 2017

Post-Material America: Ladder to Everywhere

 Anti-Mass, 2005 by Cornelia Parket
De Young Museum, Goldern Gate Park, San Francisco
photo: CC Jean Stimmell
This sculpture blows me away. It feels so ascendent, I feel myself becoming untethered as if I am too, along with the pieces in the sculpture, floating up, free at last. it's like the laws of gravity have been suspended. 

I love Cornelia Parker's sculpture in and of itself. But my infatuation deepens, becomes more inspirational and empowering after I learn its history.
Cornelia Parket constructed this sculpture from the charred remains of a Southern Baptist church with a predominantly African American congregation, which was destroyed by arsonists. After Parker learned of the arson, she received permission to use the timbers of the burned church to make this piece. 

In the title, Parker (who was raised Catholic) uses the word "mass" as a reference to both the elemental substance of the universe and the sacramental ritual at the center of the Christian faith. In this way, the realms of science and religion are brought together to emphasize the power of creativity over violence and destruction. 

This is a great piece of art: Floating ethereally in the air, it becomes, for me, a sacred object of quiet meditation and reflection.

The take-home lesson for me: If we stand true to our values we can ascend to freedom, transcending the petty and the profane.

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