A few days before I took off for the UK, I was able to swing by Monique Meloche Gallery for the opening of Cheryl Pope‘s Just Yell. The exhibition was conflicting – both perfectly topical and, at times, pointless – but touched on plenty of frustrations, civic and aesthetic.
During the first weekend of the season, a performance related to the exhibition took place at the gallery. Outside, DJ Raj Mahal was at a mixing table, bobbing his head over his laptop. Earlier, as a first indication of Pope’s aesthetic blending, students from the Phoenix Military Academy had assembled in Just Yell ’13 T-shirts and performed a brief drill chant, providing the cheerlike “yell” that furnishes the exhibition’s title. “I am ready to be heard,” the assembly of teens had shouted in affirmation, some standing at attention, others reading from scripts. “I will always conduct myself to be the change I want to see.” The drill mixed the institutional dream world of American school spirit with the real world of urban violence and grief.
Farther down, a trio of muscle cars purred, gassing proudly from rumbling carburetors, while a volunteer gathered names and waiver signatures for the exhibition’s most participatory element: a journey through Humboldt Park with a young poet and a game of Two Truths and a Lie. If Pope’s ambitions are to make the city’s violence more human—to take visitors across the chasm from newsprint statistic to blood-stained reality—she delegated the task perfectly. Britteney Black Rose Kapri, the poet who led our ride, was in full confidence and form, countering our playful truths and lies with three options, all somewhere between trauma and tragedy.
You can read the whole review at Daily Serving.