Monday, December 12, 2011

Guest Blog by Mike Cloud: Things seen and unseen

I was in Chicago a few weeks ago for Tony Tasset's opening at Kavi Gupta Gallery. At the dinner afterwards artists Mike Cloud and Doug Ischar and I stumbled upon the topic of "things-we've-seen-but-no-one-else-did."

My story was about the Milwaukee billboard that featured a plate of cheese, crackers and an apple with the caption below that read "Make a Cracker Happy." I didn't get it at first glance, but after Kevin insisted I re-read it, we laughed pretty hard about it. When we sought the billboard out again for me to photograph it a few weeks later--poof, gone. No trace of it on-line, no commentaries anywhere. A mirage--or a conspiracy?

All photos courtesy Mike Cloud, Chicago.

Mike Cloud related an event when he was a teen growing up in one of Chicago's western suburbs. The Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise near him introduced some decor and uniforms that were of kente cloth. The experiment lasted only a few weeks, and Mike has never met anyone who had a similar experience.

Mike submitted these images to illustrate, or amplify, his memories from that chimaera.

I take this picture to slyly suggest the cannibalism that goes on in most places on earth, or as a riff on the pejorative, plantation-style ripples that emanate out of Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Then, of course, this image of two skeletons, intertwined in death, suggest that we are all linked. Perhaps Mike is suggestions that eating chicken is eating human flesh, or that cultural differences are as broad or as thin as we think they are. Were these two humans sacrificed for a religion, executed for adultery, or that they died of unknown complications? Like the kente cloth in a fast food restaurant, we may never know the answer to this mystery.