Deep, dark, thought provoking secrets revealed at new exhibition

Racy. Provocative. Taboo. Cathartic. These are just some of the words that describe the new thought-provoking exhibit at the Museum of Man, entitled PostSecret, which asks the question, “Would you share secrets with a stranger?”

The answer seems to be a resounding yes. The brainchild of artist Frank Warren, the community-based project launched in 2004, and has to date amassed a collection of over a million secrets from all over the world. Warren has posted them in his six books, his blog and in special exhibitions, including the White House.

Entering the exhibition, visitors can sense an overwhelming feeling of collective release, as eyes dart across postcard after postcard of confession. Simply seeing the wall of myriad filed secrets behind Plexiglass can elicit a gasp, as comprehension sets in about the amount of pain, anxiety, and emotions trapped within those pages. Insider tip: Take a deep breath, start at the beginning and take your time — this isn’t an exhibition you want to rush through.

Also included in the exhibition are mixed media works by Buffalo entitled Secret Self and Burning, two large scale figures grappling with their inner emotions. Secret Self depicts a person enveloped in an amorphous blog of faces with multiple expressions, while Burning sits with knees drawn up with a head encased in ashen flowers and flames.

It’s very likely with a highly charged exhibition like this, visitors may find themselves feeling a whirlwind of emotion, including empathy, knee-jerk judgement, anger, happiness and even profound sadness.

As the museum notes on the exhibition’s accompanying text, “Some may shock, but others you’ll recognize as if they were your own.” In fact, the exhibition invites everyone to become a part of the journey, with an open invitation, workstation, and supplies to take, design, and write a card, and drop it in the provided mailbox.

Here are just some of the secrets revealed in the exhibition. What is your reaction?

  • “No matter how hard I work, how skilled I am, how many good things I do, nothing will ever make up for being fat.”
  • “I wish I had voices in my head, just so I would have someone to talk to.”
  • “What you did to me wasn’t a crime, but it should be.”
  • “I don’t hate the beach as much as I say I do. I just find bare skin disgusting.”
  • “I fear I’m going to be alone for the rest of my life...and I don’t want to have to settle in order not to be.”

Ready to post your own secret? The PostSecret team will be around San Diego to help you release your inner thoughts. You can meet the team, and create your own postcard during the following events (more information is available at https://www.museumofman.org/upcoming-events):

Veterans Museum’s Kid Fun Fest: noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 29 at 2115 Park Blvd., Balboa Park

PostSecret Live with Frank Warren: 7-9 p.m. Thursday, May 10 at UCSD. At this interactive presentation, Warren will be discussing the project, signing books, taking questions and guests can make their own postcards to submit. Tickets are $15 for Museum Members and students and $20 for E-Club Members, University of California San Diego Price Center West Ballroom, 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla

PostSecret Street Team appearance: 1-2 p.m. Saturday, May 19 at Hazard Center, 7510 Hazard Center Dr., Mission Valley

Find out more about the exhibition at museumofman.org/exhibits/postsecret and Frank Warren’s project at postsecret.com, postsecretlive.com and postsecretshow.com

Museum of Man, 1350 El Prado, Balboa Park, 619.239.2001, museumofman.org

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