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Monday, September 2, 2013

My Take on Art

I once did an art project about vertibrae. They look like little pterodactyls.
I'm an artist. 
"Everyone is an artist." 
What other profession is so inclusive?
Do people say "Everyone is a doctor"?
(Well, actually, in a way we often do act as our own doctors, but that's a whole 'nother blog post!)

     I've been drawing since the age of 1, according to my mother, and according to an evolutionary astrologer who looked at my horoscope chart, I have been an artist in many past lives. She even said that I've died as a result of being an artist, whether through persecution for my art, or as the result of the backbreaking labor involved, such as being a stone mason.
    
 Being an artist in any lifetime is not easy but it seems to be especially confusing nowadays. An artist is not guaranteed a steady income, so I pay my rent by working at my "day job," as a security guard in an art museum. I enjoy being around the art and interacting with visitors. Inevitably, though, I hear disparaging comments, such as ever popular, "my child could do that." 
     The thing is, it's entirely possible that their child could have created something similar to some of the art that is on display in our modern and contemporary collections. Art stopped being concerned with technical accomplishment somewhere during the industrial revolution about 100 years ago when it became apparent that cameras and other machines could do the work as well or better than we mere mortals. 
     To appreciate today's conceptual art usually requires that the viewer read something about the artist's intent to fully appreciate it. Unfortunately many people consider art that requires reading and thinking to some sort of elitist scam. The same people would not question having to read an instruction manual to understand their latest gadget, so I can only assume that it's the ultimate result of living in a society that still holds technology and technique over humanity. Maybe we need to refund arts education.
horizon

Yesterday I visited an art show where the exhibition design itself was the medium. The name of the exhibit was "horizon" and it was put together by curator Scott Lawrimore, who simply took about 20 of the museum's landscape paintings and lined them up the length of the gallery so that the horizons were at the same height, roughly at eye level. On the opposite wall was projected a video of the fiery ball of the sun dropping into the sea. While in that room, you could either face one wall or the other, peering into the "windows" of landscape paintings or the looking at the electric video sunset.

 The premise of the exhibit, as stated in the wall text, included this concept:
"
Recent psychological studies suggest that the absence of a literal horizon, or “long view,” in our increasingly dense urban landscape, as well as our fixation on computer screens and smart phones as means to acquire and share knowledge, is contributing to new pathologies of depression. The future health of our landscape is likewise threatened by the lack of a metaphorical long view of our relationship with the environment."


    This struck me since I often wonder how modern civilization's hell bent hurry to grasp the next dollar has left us blinded to our destruction of the natural world and even our own souls. What will be the result from this disconnect, as we willingly prefer to stare at a glowing screen instead of into each other's eyes? I doubt that I would have pondered these ideas if I hadn't read that text panel. but there was definitely something about physically being in this gallery that gave me an overarching desire for the space for new ideas and a need to feel open to new horizons.

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