Vape technology nowadays means you can stay medicated on-the-go, so after years of being quietly resigned to smoking skunky flowers at home, lest some Nosy Ned alert the authorities, I went to the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NWMA) in DC with my trusty pen in tow. I wanted to check out Magnetic Fields, a special exhibit of Abstract Art by Black Women Artists cuz I wanted to see the Black Tire Dragon-thingy from the adverts, of course.
I took about a dozen puffs of an indica vape cartridge I picked up from Joint Delivery Co. as I walked up to the Museum. It had nice potency, but since I was going to look at art for a while, I wanted to be certain I was thoroughly medicated. I’ve never been in Women in the Arts before and it was ballroom-ritzy. The painted portraits of historical ladies were of no interest, but en route to the Magnetic Fields exhibit, I did find a photographic series that caught my attention called ‘100 Little Deaths’ by German artist Janaina Tschäpe.
The six pieces NWMA had all featured a young brunette lying face down. They looked like crime scene photos, but bloodless, as if their hearts had simply given out on the spot, and their faces were obscured from view. Little death, as you probably know, was a French phrase for orgasm, but I felt no provocative sensuality here. What I saw in this exhibit were the long-faded embers of passion, not their bright flames. I wanted to linger further, to decipher these visual riddles, but as one of the younger guys walking around the joint, I became increasingly aware that folks were gonna get the heebie-jeebies if I stared at the dead chicks for too long.
So I made my way to the Black Tire Dragon, encountering many stunning pieces along the way, but none that drew me in like this sculpture. Raw and visceral, this midnight homunculus was astounding to behold in person. It speaks of violence and rage, and when I discussed it with another patron, she said some of her friends found it quite unsettling. Not me. I adore the terrible beauty of this monster, this clingy, inky guilt-beast dredged from the dark swamps of our collective unconscious, made manifest in reality and weaponized. Perhaps I’m projecting a bit, cuz it’s called El Gato, “The Cat,” by Chakaia Booker. Whatever. I want it. No, I want it bigger. i want it 150 feet tall, and I want to ride it down Massachusetts Avenue, carving a path of destruction and terror in our wake, ripping the corruption out of this city by its very foundations, ha, haha, hahahahahaMWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Fine. I’m fine. Got a little excited there. They had a bunch of stuff besides El Gato that were also tre’ cool, but that statue! I just love that freakin’ statue, man. It’s modern, it’s capitalism’s feral love child, it’s so freakin’ raw! But there were many works displayed the Gentleman thought pretty nifty besides my precious Red Eyes Black Tire Dragon. If you haven’t made time to visit the NWMA yet, it’s well worth the visit. Stoned, for preference.