“A cacophony of sensory stimulation.” This is how the curator of The Contemporary Austin described Charles Long’s exhibit on the opening night. True to her description, this is not an exhibit you simply tour; this is an exhibit to be experienced. Through Long’s masterful use of sculpture, film, music, fragrance, theater, and performance we are reminded, not on an intellectual level but on a sensory level, that our current path of environmental destruction will inevitably lead us to our own demise.
Charles, who graduated from Yale with an MBA and has exhibited throughout the world, struck me as equal parts Andy Warhol and Elton John (in the platform boots and big glasses years). It was the crazy chalk white hair and white high heeled boots that gave me this impression. However more accurately, he can be described as equal parts creative genius and modern philosopher. The curator is again spot on when she speaks of him and his art, “Driven by a sincere pursuit of answers to existential questions, and imbued with a healthy dose of imagination and play.”
As I walked among the icebergs, touched the living fungi wall, and watched eerie shadows play on the second floor wall, I felt both reverence for nature and a foreboding sense of doom. This is a sensual experience that seeps into the marrow of the psyche, not soon to be forgotten.
This impactful exhibit will be on display through April 20th, 2014.