Jack Kerouac, as Sal Paradise once said: "I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion." And I think that's a rather apt description of my blog over the years, and perhaps the most perfect description of me in general that I've ever read. So that's what this blog is, a collection of the falling stars that are beckoning me at any time.

24 July 2005

sundays I write about art

I've been increasingly fascinated with the concept of public art, not so much the decently funded and group organised public art projects you see like the "painted figure" phenomonon that seems to have invaded a number of North American cities simultaneously (Toronto had it's painted moose, Hartford it's cows (why cows in someplace as urban as Hartford/West Hartford CT, I'll never know, maybe they got their figure shipments confused iwth Omaha) Omaha had its John Doe project, sort of shapeless little men. Somewhere else I think had bison, I'm sure there were countless others, those were just the cities I've seen the end result in. Oddly each city's figures though done quite independently by local artists seemed to have a really similar result in terms of decoration and themes for the most part.

I'm more interested in the guerrilla side of public art, and yes that includes grafitti, though I have a love hate relationship with graffitti because a lot of what goes up is not art just grafitti and a lot of the people doing graf art seem to have no respect for the art of architecture. I guess that's not so much a problem with actual graf artists as it is with a bunch of losers who try to hide behind the edifice of graf art when they aren't any better than uncreative vandals making it infinitely harder for real graf artists to both practice their art and to be taken seriously as artists.

I'm drawn to the whole temporary and democraticness of public art. How so much of it seems to be things that people just thought would be a cool thing, or how it's in a sense designed to make those who witness it rethink the area where they see it. It makes people at least for a couple minutes become more aware of their surroundings and the context of an area they probably passed through a thousand times without even looking at it, and maybe pay attention and take a look around the world they inhabit more often.

Some of the stuff people have been doing that's caught my eye lately (on the web or through artist lectures anyway as there hasn't been too much of that stuff popping up lately where I live) has been graffitti painted ceramic decoy geese ("urban camoflauged geese") left in a park in Denver gnerally overpopulated by migrating geese(sorry no photos, the artist said he left them on his way out of town),
mario question blocks created and hung by a cool fellow from Toronto. (I've been seriously considering making some of these myself and hitting at a minimum campus in the fall), now pretty much world famous banksy's Met stunt. In fact to be honest beyond being amazingly cool, the stunt made Banksy one of my personal heroes. One day I'll write an entry explaining why, but it has to do with a sort of general, let's call it non-preference, I have for art museums. Also I'm totally Enamored with a capital E with the work of Songyi Kim, she happens to be in a residency at the Bemis Centre which is Omaha's progressive art centre, which is how I got hip to her. She's primarily a video artist and performance artist, but I to an extent consider it to be public art since some of her video projects have been about the same sorts of reactin from the public that I think the other projects I've mentioned are about.

Most recently I've been wowed by the storker project's clear babies Made out of clear tape, these infants have been dropped in several eastern cities. I like that sometimes they seem to be left quiet randomly, sometimes there is a really very powerful social context between their surroundings and them, and sometimes their placement is just sheer amusing whimsy like this:

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