Saturday, June 09, 2007

Drove 2 hours to get to the Getty Center (Los Angeles) yesterday, and it was worth every moment crawling back in post-rush-hour traffic. I met a friend who works there for coffee, and I asked her what it was like to come to work in heaven every day, albeit a Richard Meier version of heaven, taking the tram to the cluster of gleaming white buildings up in the clouds, housing great art, fountains, gardens, good food, and panoramic views of the mountains and the ocean.

There was too much in the permanent collection to mention. The Radiant Darkness exhibition was small, but gorgeous, the Tim Hawkinson room was fun, just FUN (enlarge the octopus image on the link). After the Damien Hirst post (and several emails from people known & unknown), I am thinking a lot about the function of art, especially with regard to seriousness. There does not seem to be a lot of seriousness in the Tim Hawkinson work that I saw, but there is a visual sophistication and wit, and sometimes a strong psychological aspect as well.

Although I sometimes have fun conceiving of my work, and add elements to lighten it up for myself, I have mostly been dead serious about how I approach my work and what I make work about.... the Catholic thing again, I see it as a vocation, as a calling. I was telling a friend the other day, I have always been driven, but having this window of opportunity in my life to concentrate solely on my work, I feel like I need to make it work not only for myself, but I feel like I have an opportunity that most artists would kill for, and I have to make the most of it, be worthy of it, make work that is worthy. So I am not teaching right now, but I feel like I have turned it up several notches, and, if you know me, the R.P.M. was pretty high to begin with. But sometimes I feel like the earnestness (what is serious art? what is important & relevant art? If I died next year, will I have said what needed to be said? How do you deal with the fact that most people do not want to look at the truth or deal with complex issues? Why do I care if bad or superficial art is validated? It IS necessary to define what important art is for myself, but is there a need to discuss/define what important art is for everyone else?) is killing me, and I am rethinking what artmaking can be, what kind of facets it might have. When my old friend Peggy saw "Blessed Art Thou", she said, "I can see that you are happy in your new life, because there is humor in your work."

I need to get in the car and drive back to Los Angeles, visit some galleries, and turn this over some more. Or better yet, just think about what I'm gonna make when I get home.


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