H I C A G O G H O S T S:
Ghosts of the Art
Institute of Chicago
of the most fascinating paranormal investigations I ever did was by
invitation of a graduate student in sculpture at the School of the Art
Institute of Chicago. Sculptor Thomas Gokey wondered if part of an
personality; indeed, his essence, remained behind in his works of art.
Did something of the artist's soul become bound up in his art?
could we, using ghost hunting equipment, detect some residue of it?
Gokey chose several pieces for our experiment, including an ancient
Mexican figure known as "The Storyteller," and several modern pieces,
including a work by the popular Jackson Pollock, known for his frenetic
method of painting. Gokey told me that Pollock's movements while
working had led some to wonder if he had some sort of disorder that
played a part in the creation of his seemingly random, but surprisingly
precise paintings. We talked about it and likened it more
than once to perhaps an electrical current, reminiscent of what is
talked about in poltergeist agents. Though we found no
evidence of heightened electrical or magnetic currents at the site of
the Pollock painting, we did experience some interesting activity at
another location: Carl Andre's "Steel Aluminum Plain."
This piece resembles a metal checkerboard and is installed on the
gallery floor. The artist meant for this piece to be walked
on, so we stood on it and attempted to communicate with the spirit of
the artist about a controversial event that occurred in his life: the
death of his girlfriend, Ana Mendieta, when she mysteriouisly fell from
the balcony of their high rise apartment in New York during an argument
with Andre. He was charged with second degree murder and
agreed to be tried before a judge, declining his right to a jury trial.
He was acquitted in 1988. At the site of his sculpture, I
wanted to ask Andre, still very much alive, if he was responsible for
Ana's death. Before I could get the words out, my EMF meter
spiked , and my voice recorder shut itself off.
(Above:, I take EMF readings at Jackson Pollock's "Greyed Rainbow.")