I'm an optimist. Really. I like to think I'm an optimist based in reality - ya know, glass half full sort of person.
Art does many many things for me. For one -- like poetry -- it connects me to other folks. . . a sort of, "oh, you feel that way too sometimes."
Lately, one hears things. It's hard to know what is true. Perhaps it doesn't even matter, but in thinking about writing about Art over the past week or so the Now just is.
So, it's still always fascinating to me when art can tap into the human psyche. As we know, what the artist meant or intended may be but one point of view, but once the creation is out in the ether where viewers can bump up against it, view art, discuss art, feel art, wear art, touch art . . . etc . . . meanings abound.
When my friend Aaron created Indestructible Artifact #11: Confidence, I thought it was quite something. By simply placing 'insecurity' where one is used to seeing 'security', the mind dashed off in thought: anxiety, uncertainty, lack of self-confidence, terrorism, TSA, CIA, MI5, FBI, Mossad and on . . .
Where does yours go?
and probably more brilliant was its timing. You could add global financial meltdown, mortgage crisis, war, unemployment, Israel/Palestine, Iran, Prop 8, DADT and on . . . But you know what? It's really all about what? Fear. It's all about fear and feeling out of control of our own lives isn't it? And if you dig a little deeper it's about shame.
I saw Avatar again recently. Remember the "indigenous people"?
We've got to realize how inter-connected we all are to everything around us and know that what I put out into the world relates to what happens in the world -- and just the same for you. Why is it that there is so much violence, fear, suffering, war, hate and just moments of happiness for most humans?
Could it be because I put this stuff out into the world? -- we poison our own world. I've got to stop and examine where this suffering comes from. Could it be that much of it comes from our own minds? What if? What if we just stop, think, observe? -- observe our thoughts. Observe our motivations and don't judge them. Wasn't it Socrates that said 'know thyself'? What if we really knew ourselves?
Life is a very complex and you can't forget the complexity of it by saying 'I won't look at it'. I have to approach it extraordinarily simply, and no formula must be there, no ideology, no choice - mere observation.
Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander has an exhibition at the New Museum of New York titled, "A Day Like Any Other" through 9/19/2010.
In one of her installations which involves direct participation titled, "I Wish Your Wish," hundreds of similar ribbons are printed with visitors’ wishes from past projects, and are hanging from the gallery walls. Visitors are invited to remove a ribbon, tie it to their wrist, and replace it with a new wish written on slip of paper, continuing the project that keeps generating new ribbons and dreams. According to tradition, wishes are granted when the ribbons wear away and fall off.
Who knows what happens when the ribbon falls off, but wishing is sort of like prayer isn't it? It's good for the wisher and good for the wishee. Wishing gets us out of ourselves and we think of someone else.
So does good Art.
tshirt: Indestructible Artifact #11: Confidence, 2009, $25; email firstname.lastname@example.org for availability.