An alum recently visited our class to share his work with us, and to join in our group critiques. His work encompassed multiple mediums, and what stuck out to me was his interest in and use of sound. He showed us a video which was a mixture of computer animated design, and noise. As is common, I didn’t get it, but he clearly understands what he is doing, and he gave everyone good suggestions for work, which I found helpful.
Two weeks ago, the class took a trip to the galleries in Chelsea, where we went from gallery to gallery. We had chosen the galleries in advance, hoping to learn something from artists who have done something similar to our own work. We had to write a paper for the class, though I wrote mine on Tactia Dean. Nonetheless, I found some of the artists interesting, particularly a guy named Mark Dion. Much of his work involved text, including vast amounts of drawings in red and blue, of organs (heart, lungs, uterus, etc.) and their Latin names. There were many other categories as well, including altered old black and white illustrations.
Other notable galleries (in non-chronological order) included one with a big pool of water in the middle of the floor, with water dripping in time with echoing sounds. I thought it was more like music than anything else, and it was one of my favorite stops. Another also featured music, with about 8 big screens (maybe 10x10ft) all but one showing a musician alone, the other with a family gathered on a porch. One musician would begin playing a song, singing while playing his/her instrument (piano, violin, drums, guitar, to name a few) and then they would soon all join in and perform in unison. The screens were set up around the room, so that you could go from one to another and visualize one piece of the music.
Also in the realm of multiple videos was an Icelandic man who (in addition to his many paintings, and chocolate sculptures) recorded himself in his house in Germany for many days over the course of years. The gallery had a giant wall dedicated to tiny TV’s with his video on it. Brushing his teeth. Reading. Eating. Going to the bathroom while reading a newspaper. It’s all there. I recall reading on the placard by the entrance that he sees art as something transcending time. If future generations end up watching this guy eat his cereal, I will be surprised.
The largest gallery by far housed works by the famous Jean-Michel Basquiat; a NY based heroine addict who lived to be 27. If someone could explain to me the significance of his work to me that would be great. There were around 200 people at any given time at this exhibit, and some students wanted to stay longer when lunchtime arrived.
At one point I found myself in the safe and simplistic realm of landscape photography,which I had chosen. I was of course immediately mesmerized by a particularly large snowy, mountainous, pine-tree-laden photo.
We stopped at a small store in which we had to squeeze through in single-file. The store was full of inexpensive small books. I almost got one containing Norwegian poetry, but for some reason decided against it.
At the parting of the ways, I explored the “Celestial Realms” (by another artist I’d recommended) with a couple others, which were black and white photographs of mountain peaks that protruded up from beneath the clouds, and misty areas at the summits. I probably liked this the most, because unlike a lot contemporary artists I see the purpose in the finished product. Some of my classmates have remarked (sometimes through one of those lightbulb-over-the-head moments) that “art is all about the process.” Cause-Effect, or Effect-Cause? Right or wrong, I seem to be forever cursed to “color inside the lines” so to speak…