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A Little Book of Poetry Called Modern Art
By Claire Ledoyen
The last museum I visited was MoMA PS1, an affiliate of the Museum of Modern Art in Long Island City, New York, to see Pakistani-born artist Huma Bhaba's exhibit "Unnatural Histories." The exhibition, primarily sculptural, encouraged an aura of desolation, obscured primitivity seeping into decaying modern structures.
"Unnatural Histories" was a penetrating and trenchant recognition of the effects that man-made history has on modern culture. The exhibit smashed together aesthetics of prehistory with instantly recognizable images of consumerism, such as the Volkswagen emblem, with throw-away materials like styrofoam and chicken wire.
Afterwards I wandered around MoMA PS1 hoping to find something else that would grab my attention as fully as Huma Bhuba's work. However, many of the other spaces in the museum presented art that fell a little short. I couldn't believe that people would pay so much money to such a prestigious institution to see some of this stuff. Maybe I'm not creative or visually inclined enough to get it, but I felt frustrated with the seemingly senseless and ineffective pieces I came across.
So, I wrote a little book. A friend of mine had recently requested a care package including some new poetry, and I was feeling strong impulses from the art I was seeing. I wrote a very short book of very short poems called Modern Art, and you probably shouldn't take it too seriously. These are the poems I included:
Wading through the reeds, Baby Jesus on blow on high
My innocence slips shedded
by two buddy
Saxophone blows to the face. My baby Jesus frolicking face down in the reeds.
in the stairway
of the MOMA
dirty rain gutters
broken rain gutters
The MS Paint Bottle of Spray Paint
I wish I could use the spraycan in Microsoft paint
on this poem.
Duality in cork:
dubble flagons of wine to be finished
for the night is through;
WE WILL BE DRUNK BY MORNING, TERRY, OKAY? We will be drunk by morning.
Hard drugs like pot
and you laid out on the bathmat
Sanitary but not sterile;
get in the trashbag, the black trash bag,
and then on your knees and pray.
Or just sit there
in child’s pose.
can kill themselves so easily
by just coming out of the woodwork when
they’re not supposed to.