Beyond "Beyond the Beard"
I have so enjoyed Polina Osherov’s exhibit “Beyond the Beard” in Gallery No. 2 this month. In case you missed it, she photographed a wide array of Indy beards and then, to give us just a little more insight into the men behind the beards, she paired their photos with shots of the contents of their wallets. From lottery tickets to fat stacks of cash to my personal favorite, a Dollywood admission ticket, perusing these collections felt a little bit like rifling through someone’s drawers—so wrong, but wait! We had permission. Thanks, Polina.
It also got me to thinking more generally about beards. My dad used to try to grow a beard once in a great while. I remember how strange he looked with his sandy blonde hair and the beard(ish) that always came in very patchy and very red. It never really worked for him. My husband, on the other hand, was more successful. A former Civil War re-enactor, he has sported a wide variety of facial hairstyles, always experimenting with new (read 1860s-era) looks. At one point, he was changing styles so frequently that a family friend came to refer to his beard as a facial topiary.
But enough about these guys. You know, once upon a time I sported a beard myself. It was back in the early 90s (never a good way to start a story) and the ad agency I worked for always threw awesome company parties for Halloween. Working with such a creative group of people, the pressure to produce the perfect costume was intense. That particular year, determined to outdo them all, I began with an acquisition from a lucky thrift store outing - a men’s black wool blazer with an official patch on the pocket declaring the wearer “500 Festival Parade Director.” Feeling pretty confident, I went about transforming myself and thought a beard would really complete the look. I have to say that the results were fairly terrifying. (See photo above.) Yeah, so I don't think I'll be bringing back that look any time soon.
Oh,interesting side note: the jacket that inspired my costume was purchased in a room that is now a little place we like to call . . . wait for it . . . the Harrison Gallery.
When worlds collide. : )