“On The New Museum’s window on Fourteenth Street, Brad Melamed has stenciled seven questions, one for each day of the week, each asking the viewer to choose between two equally desirable or undesirable activities: Would you rather spare some change or read a political handout? Would you rather keep a budget or exercise? Would you rather stay at home or be late for work tomorrow?
In the moment of indecision which may result, we find ourselves caught in a carefully balanced tug of war—one in which we play both sides. In this unconventional game, we may become intrigued by our opponent: ourselves as other. We may begin to wonder what we are really like, what we really want in life. For in order to answer these questions, we must examine everyday behaviors so unextradordinary that we do not consciously evaluate them. In re-examining the ordinary, we are forced to start at the beginning—to see, understand, and appreciate some basic behaviors and the meaning reflected in those acts. In scrutinizing the commonplace, we may rediscover a richness in our ‘common’ lives, perhaps realizing the major role we play in shaping and sustaining its quality. Thus, in an existential fashion, Melamed wants to remind us that we are agents of action and change in our lives, and that we must take responsibility for what we do.”