UPDATE: This is the last week to see trinket; the exhibit's last day is Sunday, June 28. Saturday and Sunday hours: 11-6.
Take a 55 x 16-foot American flag, add a few spotlights and four huge movie wind fans, and you have an unexpectedly overwhelming and moving art exhibit.
"Trinket," by William Pope.L (pronounced poh-PELL) is the centerpiece of a show of the same name at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in downtown L.A.'s Little Tokyo. It's wonderful in its simplicity, and bewildering in its complexity. It's just a flag in the wind, but it's so much more.
The noise and the wind from the fans, plus the ever-changing shape of the flag in the lights, create an immersive experience even before you start thinking about what "Trinket" means to you — especially in the context of the Tunis museum attack, the baby cradled in a flag, Rudy Giuliani's claim that President Obama doesn't love America, U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, etc.
"People need to see it," said MOCA chief curator Bennett Simpson as we stood downwind, like CNN anchors covering a hurricane. "But, more than that, they need to feel it. The artist Pope.L says people should physically feel their democracy, and not just understand it as an abstract symbol, and with this work, yeah, you are physically enveloped in the work."
William Pope.L's Trinket is at the Geffen Contemporary through June 28.