Faculty News

"Wickedly Smart, Visually Gorgeous"

4Columns published a glowing review by David Deitcher of Mary Lum's Assembly (Lorem Ipsum), which is currently on view in MASS MoCA's Building 6. 

Wickedly Smart, Visually Gorgeous

Deitcher, who called Lum's work "wickedly smart, visually gorgeous" also writes:

"When I visited the Wilson Building on opening day, it was especially tempting to linger in the bike tunnel. Not only was Lum’s mural visually and intellectually engaging, its situation provided a welcome zone of calm and quiet in contrast to the amplified music resounding throughout the neighboring courtyard. The longer I stayed with Assembly, the more I enjoyed looking for and finding some of the words that Lum embedded within lorem ipsum’s larger chopped-word salad. They have lost none of their integrity as secreted, wall-bound transmitters of relevant activities, qualities, rights: “READING,” “MOCA,” “RESIST,” “PEOPLE,” “POWER,” “TRUTH,” “ASSEMBLY,” “FREEDOM.” With their emphasis on First Amendment guarantees of assembly, speech, and freedom of the press, such words assume a powerful urgency in the context of a president and administration determined to undermine them all.

As it conveys the sensory overload and evacuated significance that, from a certain perspective, characterize contemporary life, Assembly (Lorem Ipsum) challenges viewers to slow down, and rewards those who do with the satisfaction of finding meaning amid fragmented verbiage that embodies its absence. It is in that sense that Lum’s work goes beyond telling it like it is to offer those willing to do the work of completing her creative acts with the capacity to benefit from immersion, however brief, in a space where the visualization of information overload is precisely what effects a hunt for treasure—for whispers of meaning and truth."