Apr 4, 2008

Apertura Colombia

I took Connor to the Station Museum of Contemporary Art to see the new exhibit. I went to their last installment twice because it was fascinating to me. The last exhibit contained life sized photographs of corpses dressed in haute couture and a group of 14 portraits of young girls, seven of the girls were murderers and seven were just average girls. Both of those exhibits were riveting, because they were provocative, and also because they inspired discussion. Love it or hate it, you had to talk about it.

The exhibit I saw with Connor had more of a chilling effect on our conversation. The exhibit is called Apertura Colombia, and it was more shocking than I had imagined. We watched a video exhibit about an incident that took place in Colombia in 2007, in which the police set up a sting along the lines of To Catch a Predator, but they let the guy molest two girls, and they video taped it, all in the guise of good police work. They don't show the molestation, but they show the police arresting the man and then describe the fall out of the case, which from what I could gather did not include a prosecution. I could be wrong, though - that particular exhibit was a little difficult to follow.

One of the pieces I liked the most showed two photographs of a man taken seven years apart. One as a young man filled with curiosity and life, and the second was of the same man covered in scars he received while living on the streets and abusing drugs. In that photograph, he is holding and looking at the photograph that was taken when he was not addicted and still handsome and healthy. A video screen separates the two photographs and a video of the same man plays and you can tell he is an addict, because he looks ill and manic all at once.

Connor was fascinated by a video of a young soldier who had was washing the camouflage paint off of his face with the two stumps that are where his forearms and hands used to be. There is one installation of a series of photographs representing "The Disappeared." It starts with a woman's face with what looks like a drain superimposed on it, then with each photograph, it morphs into her going down the drain. My description does not do it justice, it is a very powerful piece.

There were pieces about war, nuclear power and bombs, and terrorism. The pinnacle of our trip was when I got to view some photographs of what appeared to be young Colombian hookers having sex with amputees. Nothing like looking at amputee porn with your 14 year old nephew. I almost started laughing, but he handled himself with dignity. As he examined each photo he looked me dead in the eye as he pointed to one and said, "He has a wooden leg," without ever acknowledging the act depicted in the photo. I'm am taking a guess here, but I think he probably learned some new positions, because the girls were limber and the amputees were unencumbered by limbs. I guess I know what he will be looking for on the Internet, if he ever gets that privilege back.

I asked Connor what he thought of the exhibit on the whole, and he replied, "Disturbing." I guess that about sums it up. There is not a lot of candy coating for this exhibit, but I still think it is worth viewing and I'm glad I took Connor. I think when the initial shock wears off, it will inspire some interesting conversations.

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