Friday, November 19, 2010

Tacky is old hat

Last night, Lucy and I were present for the opening of "Collision" at the RISD Museum of Art. Granted, we were there to hear my fiddle teacher, Cathy Clasper-Torch, play her set with her band, The Gnomes (who were completely awesome.)

Still, Lucy and I willingly sat on the steps and listened to Saccoccio (how lucky is she to have four c's in her name?) give a talk about herding the artists into a collaborative mood and work. Saccoccio, perhaps in her mid 40s, was dressed in artist boudoire fancy funk, an extremely hesitant and nervous, but open, public speaker, with a photo-snapping 10yr old daughter, and a stagehandy, personable, confident husband, who seemed to help orchestrate technical goings on.

Her paintings were good. A lot of the work was good. The space was usually well considered, as Saccoccio herself had specified that all artists were to treat the space as the first participant. Most, though not all, succeeded. Tape streamers hung from the balcony, plumb weights hung from the spanners on the ceiling, videos were projected at and from and over odd angles. Absurd, semi-superheroic, besparkled Velvet Underground-on-inanity musicians (Slink Moss and Susan Jennings) played drums on the walls and bells on bellpulls. They were pretty good.

It was one big, coherent, fun, pretty, ugly, tacky, chaos. I liked it. It competed with the Lynda Benglis show, at least, the early work, over in the new building in shiny, 5yr old/crow attracting gaudiness. Perhaps less serious work? Serious is an important word in the art world. Well, I can't take art seriously to begin with (aside from Eva Hesse's work, and she died from it...) but I think this show dealt seriously with the now classic question of the "white cube" of gallery space. I couldn't help asking myself throughout the show, "Are they serious? They seem to take themselves so seriously. Shouldn't they?"

This whole experience set me to musing. You see were this is going, right? Yes, the question came up in my mind, "Why am I not in this world?" Answer: Perhaps it is that I am too shy, lack social skills, and like to sit in my room like a hermit crab? Perhaps I don't take artwork seriously enough? Perhaps I am too disorganized? Perhaps my work isn't good enough? Perhaps I don't want to be in that world? Don't know.

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