O'Neal invites you to step into a box

2013-07-11T00:00:00Z 2013-07-11T08:57:52Z O'Neal invites you to step into a boxKathleen Allen Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
July 11, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The box is startling.

The wooden structure in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson is 20-feet tall and 10-feet wide. It looks like a massive shadow box waiting to be occupied.

And Brooklyn photographer Coke Wisdom O'Neal (those are family names) hopes Tucsonans will do just that.

O'Neal and his box will be at MOCA for an opening on Saturday and through next week, when he'll photograph Tucsonans who step in the box. The structure will remain in place through Aug. 4. The museum plans an exhibit of the works at a future date. O'Neal has launched a similar project in about six cities around the country.

He uses the box to draw people in and have their picture taken - he doesn't have to invite them verbally. The box speaks for him.

The structure frames the subjects, dwarfs them, and insists we focus in on the figure. The stark, odd background of the oversized box allows us to understand something essential about the person in it.

"I just love the way it looks," says O'Neal.

"The large object (the box) is there, but you have to (move into) the picture to see it. … The person becomes what's important."

"Watching people interact with the box is exciting," says Anne-Marie Russell, executive director of MOCA Tucson.

"Coke photographs the people in the box, and they become his art."

If you Go

• What: "Coke Wisdom O'Neal: Box Exhibition," with music, food trucks and the artist.

• When: 8 p.m. Saturday. .

• Where: MOCA Tucson, 265 S. Church Ave.

• Admission: Free.

• Information: moca-tucson.org or 624-5019.

• Et cetera:O'Neal plans to shoot from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. Wednesday through July 21 and is hoping Tucsonans find their way to MOCA Tucson and into the structure. He and his camera will take it from there. The museum plans an exhibit of the photos at a later date.

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