I'm here in DC and had a chance to swing by the Smithsonian American Art Museum where they have a special exhibit of Jean Shin's Common Threads exhibit. Not only is the exhibit visually appealing, she also developed her pieces with the contributions from the community. Some of my favorite pieces included the following:
"Chance City" – remember those card houses you made as a kid? Imagine an entire city made up of card houses that use lottery tickets as their base. Absolutely amazing…the thought that people's dreams of wealth can crumble so quickly like a deck of cards is very humbling, and from what the guard told me, if the cards fall, they do not "fix" the artwork. At the end of the exhibit, the city will come tumbling down (if it hasn't already.) It's been up since May 1st, so I saw a pretty intricate city similar to the picture shown here.
"Chemical Balance" – think about all those prescription bottles you toss. Jean Shin has taken these bottles and created sculptures that look like eerie glowing stalactites and stalagmites. These prescription bottles were also collected from community nursing homes, pharmacies, friends and family members. It's a poignant statement about how our society relies so much on "popping pills" to treat illnesses.
Lastly, her exhibit "Everyday Monuments" is debuting here in DC. It's a collection of ordinary trophies that have been modified so that the figures adorned on top represent the efforts of ordinary people. It's a way to celebrate the accomplishments of everyday workers who don't receive trophies for the contributions they do everyday.
The exhibit runs until July 26th, and it may be worth going multiple times to see how the Chance City piece may change each time. Here's an article in the NY Times that also gives an overview of Jean Shin's life.
It's very moving, and I highly recommend that you try to visit the next time you're in DC.
Has there been an artist that has moved you to become more introspective about your world and why do you think their work did that?