Yesterday, I went to the Art Institute of Chicago, where they were placing a new sculpture somewhere requiring a crane for the transfer. A huge skeleton of a horse, the artwork was headless, the head already placed in its destination.
In the cab of the crane, the operator waited to start the move, his foot casually propped up against the door frame. Like this was nothing. Like operating that enormous piece of equipment–and it was enormous–was nothing.
The other workers grabbed the heavy chains and tightened straps to hoist the sculpture. And then, finally, when it seemed they would never lift it, there it floated into the air with a grace unexpected from metal. And the crane operator vindicated his nonchalance.
It wasn’t a sight I expected to see yesterday. In fact the whole visit was full of new things and surprises: a textiles exhibit; a collection of Islamic art; the work of Hairy Who?, an art collective from the 60s.
Did it change what’s happening in the world?
Did it make me not think about it for a while?
There’s a little bit of escape in finding the new within the old. Fresh eyes. Fresh perspective?
Not this time.
But I can say I’ve seen a horse skeleton hoisted high against the Chicago skyline. And that’s something.
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