Monday, September 16, 2019

The Show

From the outside, it looks like any other nondescript building on York Avenue. I give my name to the woman at the card table and she checks me off the list. A dark entry gives way to a shadowy, cavernous room filled with people. On the left, there’s a wall of weathered, fabric faces like the kind you try to knock down with a bean bag at a carnival. Next to the wall sits a three-foot wide orb of chewed gum shrouded in plastic wrap. The gum balances atop a delicate multi-layered fringe-work of silver gum wrappers.

It’s a hot night in Highland Park and even hotter inside this warehouse of curiosities. More than once, I glance up to see what’s dripping on me and discover it’s just my own sweat running in rivulets down my scalp. The crowd is too close. I bump into a pillar made of wigs.

Chandeliers of buttons and shells cascade from the ceiling. My purse gets caught in an amorphous sculpture made of silver beaded bracelets.
I turn too quickly and bump into a tall wooden box adorned with a grid of human teeth. “Look Dad, this one has a cavity,” says the kid standing next to me. “Looks like more than one,” says his dad.

The heat and the people and the art objects give me a feeling of being underwater, suffocated. I want to be one of those cool types who understands modern art, really gets it. I know I’m supposed to feel something, something besides heat stroke and the need for a Xanax.
I am so god damned hot. My mind races. What if I died here? “Her dehydrated body was found slumped against a wall made of toy pianos. She died of art.”

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