Whether it's finding a lucky penny, knocking on wood or sticking a rusty nail through a lime to avoid the evil eye, superstitions are a part of our society whether we realize it or not and are a uniting force across cultures.
Yet artist Jason Metcalf claims, “The interesting thing about superstition, I have found, is that a belief can vary from person to person even if two individuals are close in cultural, religious and geographical proximity.”
Metcalf's collection called ABRACADABRA is The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art’s new exhibition in the Locals Only Gallery. His exhibit is the result of extensive research into obsessions, legends and lore from various cultures as far away as Haiti and as near as Sanpete Valley. The artwork on display are verbal descriptions that have been passed down from generations and collected by Metcalf to be transformed into physical manifestations.
While Metcalf’s work reflects those existing verbal beliefs and will reinforce legends for the visitors who look at it, he still feels his work is a forgery, not created from original purposes or ideas, but merely acting as visual replacements. This unique collection of visual superstition brings up interesting questions about the result of documenting superstition that no other project before it has quite articulated. As senior curator Aaron Moulton puts it, “Metcalf gives us objects that stand between the mind’s eye and lore, which playfully prod the tales of old wives or the Doubting Thomas.”
The opening reception for ABRACADABRA will be held during UMOCA’s First Friday on Sept. 7 from 8-10 p.m. and will feature music from DJ Fland & Flare as well as food and a cash bar.
The event is free and open to the public, so make sure you stop by, but don’t forget your lucky rabbit’s foot!