Art is supposed to be honest — but is it supposed to be this honest?
“The best decision I ever made was divorcing you.”
That’s one message that a viewer left inside “Last Words,” an interactive piece of sculpture now on display at the Pratt Institute that takes people’s inner-most secrets and turns it into art.
Artists Michael McDevitt and Otis Kriegel constructed a large cardboard cluster of honeycombs and invited the public to fill the holes with their thoughts — whether from the heart or a different organ.
“It could be a note to a loved one or [a] zinger you didn’t say in your last argument,” said McDevitt, a Pratt professor who co-founded with Kriegel the seminal eight-year-old group Illegal Artists, which always involves viewers in the making of the project.
This piece is about self-reflection, thought, and human connection and using an interactive public space as a forum to create art — a worldly take on the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, where the faithful write down their prayers.
Illegal Artists has done this kind of thing before. Previous projects included a DUMBO storefront covered entirely in Post-it notes two year ago. Another piece, called “The God Project,” featured a large poster of the word “God” with a comma that urged people to complete the sentence.
McDevitt says that such interactive art “is a way to read a passersby’s mind.
“Our spaces in public allow people to contribute and become part of the art itself,” he said.
It certainly does that. One note in “Last Words” read, “Dad, I love you. I hope you’re pain is free from you, and you are happy.”
Then again, not ever message makes artistic sense, such as “If you’re so against tourism, why did you sign up for this tour?”
Then again, maybe it does.
“Last Word” at the Pratt Institute [200 Willoughby Ave. between Steuben and Ryerson streets in Clinton Hill, (718) 636-3600] through Nov. 18. The piece moves to Spring Gallery [126 Front St. between Washington and Adams streets in DUMBO, (718) 222-1054] from Nov. 21–22. For info, visit www.illegalart.org.