I have to confess. I am a horror move junky. And the gorier the better. Give me a few skulls, some blood and psychological intrigue, and I’m hooked.
In my attempt to take advantage of the arts in my backyard (NYC), I went to see Loot!, a jewelry exhibit, at the Museum of Arts and Design in Columbus Circle. But while I was riding up the elevator to the show, the doors opened on floor 3 and what hits me is a wall full of skulls made out of dead elements from nature. I realized then that no matter how beautiful and unique the jewelry designs were going to be, I knew EXACTLY where I was going to spend my precious one hour of alone time.
It turns out this floor has a special exhibit called Dead or Alive: Nature Becomes Art. Artists from around the world “transform organic materials and objects that were once produced by or part of living organisms — insects, feathers, bones, silkworm cocoons, plant materials, and hair — to create intricately crafted and designed installations and sculptures.” The exhibits are creepy, amazing, and gross — all at the same time. And yet, they were beautiful. There were walls covered with thousands of dried insects mimicking vintage wallpaper; imaginary animal skeletons made from pulverized bones; and a shadow version of a 24-foot Song Dynasty painting using only vegetable parts, weeds, leaves, and roots. My favorite was a skeleton of cow wrapped around a motorcycle (see pic below).
What intrigued me about all of this? Why do I think it’s beautiful? Coming face to face with nature’s beauty and death makes our own mortality that much more apparent. But instead of getting depressed, we feel more ALIVE as a result. Perhaps this is why I’m so drawn to horror movies. I certainly don’t wish death upon even my worst enemies (not that I have any but it sounds more dramatic, no?). The scariest I get is when I get my face lasered, as you may remember fondly. Maybe this fascination with dead stuff is just a way to shock me from time to time into reminding how precious and beautiful life is.
Oh, Silence of the Lambs is playing on cable. Gotta go … (ha, ha)