Ecstasy of Municipality
Whittier City Hall
13230 Penn Street
Whittier, CA 90602
January 15 - February 19, 2010
Ecstasy of Municipality was an art installation in the lobby of Whittier City Hall. As a city employee, I was granted the opportunity to exhibit a 15 foot long psychedelic illuminated manuscript I made in a thematic residency at the Banff Centre in 2009. The installation also included a photo printed blanket of the city bell, and a photograph of me painting the manuscript under the printed blanket. The project was inspired by the city's namesake John Greenleaf Whittier, a poet and abolitionist from New England, who never visited the city itself, but wrote it the following poem:
"My Name I Give To Thee"
Dear Town, for whom the flowers are born,
Stars shine, and happy songbirds sing,
What can my evening give to thy morn,
My Winter to Thy Spring? A life not void of pure intent
With small desert of praise or blame;
The Love I felt, the Good I meant,
I leave Thee with My Name.
The show title Ecstasy of Municipality was meant to reflect the concept of inert disembodiment in the city's name. The piece was designed to function in relation to the dozens of gilded John Greenleaf Whittier quotes and plaques located throughout the city's municipal buildings and parks, which promulgate a unique elated, feverish democratic narrative.
"I'll lift you and you lift me, and we'll both ascend together."
-John Greenleaf Whittier