Time and decay reveal unintentional works of art.
Fresh from a visit to one of the most intriguing exhibits I’ve ever attended anywhere (See TLR post: Ai Weiwei) — I had to share my obsession with the textured, storied walls of our country’s most famous, historical federal penitentiary: The Rock, in San Francisco Bay.
The 6-month exhibition allows visitors to walk through inmate workrooms and guards’ gun galleries heretofore off limits. The halls and walls are eerie and decrepit, and you get a sense that decades of dark history could quickly be exposed with CSI on the untold number of layers of chipped and crusty paint. (Pics #1 -#9). Between the coats of mint green and institutional gray, you catch shades of peach, rose, and rust. The infirmary entrance sports three shades of what could be described as Martha Stewart Mediterranean teal (Pic #9) with scratches of powdery pink — a totally counterintuitive color palette for the world’s creepiest “pen.”
Factoids from “The Rock:”
Where did Alcatraz get its name? The name Alcatraz comes from the Spanish explorer Don Juan Manuel de Ayala, the first European known to navigate San Francisco Bay, in 1775. He called it “La Isla de los Alcatraces,” which means “the island of the pelicans.”
Why did Alcatraz close? According to Smithsonian Magazine, in a word: extravagance. “The cost of housing a prisoner on Alcatraz, where all supplies – including potable water – arrived by boat, was more than three times higher than at other federal prisons.” In 1963, Attorney General Robert Kennedy announced Alcatraz shut down the historic facility for good.
For a comprehensive look into the life and work of Chinese conceptual artist Ai Weiwei, click this link to Artsy.net.