COMING SOON: Videos from Vortexhibition Polyphonica

As a Museum Studies student at the UW, I have been working on a practicum project here at the Henry that involves shooting video of staff members with their favorite piece in Vortexhibition Polyphonica.  I asked people why they chose what they did and that’s what we get to see on the videos!  Some people prefer not to be filmed, but still have a lot to say, so the following is what I learned from Hannah Hong.  Her favorite piece(s) in the show are So Salty Too and Wide as the Milky Way both by Collier Schorr.

“I love these pieces, I don’t love them because they’re something positive about the world, rather, they’re more about an underbelly of angst and implied violence that exists and is addressed oh-so-subtly by Collier Schorr,” explains Hannah Hong.

These two sculptural pieces, that resemble little girls’ dresses, are hung fairly high on the wall together, side-by-side. Hannah continues, “I like these pieces because it takes a while to get it, to understand it. At first you think, oh here are some little girls’ dresses, and it seems creepy to be looking up into them. But they are intentionally placed at that height to be looked into.  And you’re thinking, it’s kind of weird that I’m looking up a little girl’s dress, is this wrong?  And then you read all the texts and the ideas that are placed inside the dress, and you think, oh, so this IS what the artist intended, for it to be creepy, weird, and wrong to look at the work.”

There is scribbling and writing inside the pieces that you can see only as you get close and look up into them. “The voice that is used in the writing is sometimes innocent, sometimes accusatory and angry, but it does both these voices and seems to shift back and forth. Unless you get up in there to read it all, you don’t get the idea of sex and violence,” says Hannah.  From a distance, they might look innocent being little dresses, painted a pale color, blowing in the wind maybe. But instead of blowing in the wind the hems of the dresses are actually being pulled up. Hannah exclaims, “There is so much to see in these pieces. Even if you walk away and come back you always see something different.”

Hannah on So Salty Too
“I love the fact that in one spot it says MONSTER you are bad scribbled over the top of other text saying Such a sweet, pretty, salty good little girl and an arrow to a cut-out of a woman’s chest, on which sicko has been written. This is hard to decipher so you have to spend time reading the piece, craning your neck, contorting your body to be able to read it.”

Hannah on Wide as the Milky Way
“There is written She wouldn’t have you any other way in red, bold, steady letters, and an arrow that points in the direction of a bent set of legs, knees bent, slightly open, without a body. Next to this is written she used to think there was someone else underneath her skin.”

Looking up into the art, Hannah smiles, “I like that the artist has pulled this twisted joke on us as viewers, activating our sense of morality and causing us to question ourselves.”

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