Tara's art encounter

 Two Saturdays ago I group of friends of mine and I went to view the 1980s Exhibit at the ICA Museum before its closing the following day. As a child of the 80s, I found many colorful, audio and interactive art pieces that spoke to the decade of decadence. However, one installation aggressively grabbed and sustained my attention more than the rest – the ceiling to floor mural of Jesse Jackson. As a prominent leader in the African-American community and one who I have met, Jesse Jackson has been the subject of controversy over the course of his career. Therefore, this artwork’s most shocking element is the artist’s decision to lighten Jackson’s skin, color his eyes a piercing blue and dye his hair blond with the quote, “How ya Like Me Now?”, written in graffiti. To heighten the viewer’s awareness of this piece, the museum brilliantly placed this mural on a wall in a room you enter from a room where the art is much more muted in color and tone. I was not expecting to turn a corner a find this mural. It immediately captured my attention while the blunt, sarcastic question made me think about how Jackson is viewed now vs. 30 years ago. Additionally, the purposely used Caucasian appearance begs the questions, “How would people like Jackson if he was white?” and “Would people’s opinion of Jackson change if he was a white man?” Although he will never become Caucasian, Jackson’s face and in-your-face attitude embody a decade of change.

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