luggage vs. WOODEN FRAMES

One of this semester’s experiments was to create two different types of frames for the same polyptych.  One is an altered piece of secondhand luggage that opens up to expose a triptych.  The other is closer to the hinged polyptychs I’ve been making for the past year.

Today I’ll present the paintings in their wooden frame.

When it’s open, you see this little scene:

opiate masses inside 3

As you can see, last month’s research into female illustrators in the early 1900s influenced my appropriation for this project.

opiate detail 2

When closed, the polypych looks more like a crate for shipping…what?  Well, whatever it is, it is plainly:

opiate masses closed      opiate masses phosphorescent

(It glows in the dark, too.  How bad could it be?)

What, then, is the opiate of the masses?  The phrase is of course stolen from Karl Marx, but the interior isn’t terribly religious.  The babies could be putti, but they’re closer to Rose O’Neill’s Kewpies (cf. cutie pies, cupids).

The ambiguity is the point.  Is religion still the opiate of the masses?  The fad for coffee is powerful in my area, and I certainly know many ladies who swoon over cute babies.  (I admit to nothing.)  There’s also the way people reminisce about their first international trip.  Finally, what about the cultural obsession with sex and romance?

I posit that any one of these is a valid concept with which to make sense of the polyptych.  It is on one hand cloyingly innocuous, and on the other hand dangerous indeed.

Next up:  the suitcase version.

One response to “luggage vs. WOODEN FRAMES”

  1. […] I mentioned, there are two ways in which to display what I’m tentatively calling the Opiate of the Masses […]

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