My morning walk to work is bleary eyed and trance like, and I don’t even like to snap out of it, since it seems like the final few moments of rest and quiet before the day begins. Tuesday, though, I was jolted out of my stupor: a rainbow of of origami butterflies perched on the wall outside the museum. Evidently they materialized overnight, for God knew what reason. Walking closely along the wall, I could see the things were arranged in a pattern, but honestly, I couldn’t—forgive me—I couldn’t read the writing on the wall. It wasn’t until I took a photo and saw the installation from a different angle that I realized it: the butterflies spelled out fly.
Later that morning, all the museum had seen the wall, and people were excited. I emailed my photo to the staff to see what everyone made of it. Jason in Creative Services suggested it might be the work of a French artist named Mademoiselle Maurice. There followed a good deal of speculation. It wasn’t until later in the day that Jenn, our ruling queen of social media, solved the mystery: Des Moines street artists The UpSideUp had graced our wall with their work.
It’s amazing how something so simple but so lovely can add color to an entire day. John, our librarian, said, “Talk about a wonderful East-West example of contemporary art.” The director said he loved it. Tom in Publications said it reminded him of a Wu Mali exhibition from several years ago—one of my favorites.
Jenn met the UpSideUp artists yesterday, and she gave them a message from all of us: however ephemeral their piece might be, it has permanently altered our perception of the museum—our walls are porous. Art shines from the inside out, but contemporary expressions also flow in from the community around us, and the two interact with one another.
Leave a Reply