T:BA:07 Day Six – Tuesday, 11 September 2007
Tuesday was a pretty mellow day.
This is good, my mind and body needed some rest and relaxation.
11:30a Kassys Workshop, PNCA
12:30p Shaking the Columns, PNCA
6:00p Roberta Uno Lecture, W+K
8:30p Hand2Mouth Theatre, IFCC
10:30p Portland Cello Project, Wonder
The day was to begin with the Kassys workshop, but I did not finish showering and bLogging in time. C’est la vie. I was not too very struck by their performance, so it was really just fine for me to miss it. I did feel bad though, as part of my desire to see all of T:BA is to see things that I do not like, and possibly learn more about them, get inside their heads, find the kernel of beauty that I missed during the performance.
So, going to participate in the Noon:30 chat “Shaking the Columns” with artists Marko Lulic, Peter Kreider, Guido van der Werve, and curators Kristan Kennedy [PICA], and Stephanie Snyder [Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Reed College] was good in that manner. Mind you, I have not yet gone to see the installation at Reed, but I intend to before it is striked. Guido’s films and music I greatly love. Marko presented a lecture a while back at Reed College, which I attended. So, these were the reference points that I had in my head entering the room.
Kristan and Stephanie were doing their best to strike up a conversation and draw out ideas from Guido and Peter, but they were rather quiet and answering in rather terse or glib manners. Marko, in character, is quite the opposite: bold, strong, perhaps even brazen. Normally, I try to wait until the conversation ends to start asking questions, but honestly, this conversation just was not getting off of the ground. So, first I started with a question about subverting institutional, or other method, funding to create your work. Guido had ‘purchased’ a $150,000 +/- Steinway piano for one of his pieces, had it delivered by crane into his studio apartment, and then it was taken back a month later because he could not make payments. Marko is rather notorious for challenging the galleries or government funding that he attains to a place of discomfort, until critical review, and then hopefully they love him again. It has been working out, as he may continue to produce work on commissions. But, the question did not go very far. I tried to tweak it a bit, and still nothing.
But, then Marko put forward the idea that he could train a monkey to paint, but that they are not an artist. It is the originating idea that makes one an artist. OH YEAH!!! When I went to see Marko speak at Reed, I came away thinking, sure, he is making stuff, but the idea is not his, he is just re-building it out of foam and house paint [or other media, depending upon the piece]. So, it was a question already in my mind, and I had to ask it…
“Marko, by what you just said… would that make you the Monkey?”
Two people jumped on me, saying that I was an idiot and that I apparently did not know anything about the history and theory of art, yadda yadda yadda…
Oh, yeah, I finally got the people in the room talking!
Well, at least Kirsten, Stephanie, Marko and a dozen folks in the audience.
The beautiful thing about this was that 1) Guido challenged me to a thumb wrestle [he won], and 2) the lady that called me an idiot, I later spoke with at length at the IFCC while waiting to seeHand2Mouth, and she was quite surprised to know that I am intelligent and highly educated. Hum… perhaps one should ask a question or start a dialogue before casting stones…
Hepefully today’s Noon:30 will be lively!
A friend of mine was commissioned to photograph Arnold Kemp’s installation, so I hung-out with her for a bit while she did her work.
Then over to Wieden + Kennedy for Roberta Uno’s lecture. Roberta is a self-proclaimed non-hip-hopper; whom happens to be in charge of that aspect of the “Arts and Culture at the Ford Foundation, [which] launched an unprecedented line of inquiry and funding entitled, ‘Future Aesthetics: the Impact of Hip Hop on Contemporary Performance’, which has created profound reverberations in the arts field.” Roberta and Mark Russell spoke about trends, trendiness and the truth behind the impetus of Hip Hop. [Here’s a great reference, which is the Genealogy of Pop/Rock Music: The Classic Graphic by Reebee Garofalo.] Hip Hop is American, it is learning from others and making something your own, speaking of your truth, speaking your language, referencing your experiences and desires. In the words of Marc Bamuti Joseph “Media – - > reMix – - > Community – - > reMix”
So, by that, Marko Lulic’s work is infact Hip Hop. He learns from the Masters, re-interprets, and puts it back out there.
There is a stereotype that Hip Hop is violent, misogynistic and full of ‘bad’ language. Mark Russell explained it quite simply “Scary movies sell”, but the truth is the currents that flow beneath it all. Hip Hip, even if it seems to be sold-out in American mass media culture, can never be dead. Fore, if it is dead, then we as a country are dead too.
But, that is actually a very interesting topic, that I would like to write a tome about some other time… Who are ‘we’ as Americans? Roberta talked about the majority minority. Yet, in the voting and cultural realms, we are a bit watered down. If the minority is the majority, why is it that we are still acting in the patterns of what the ‘majority’ tells us? Why are we voting to have the leaders of our country that we do [in Washington or elsewhere] if they are not representing us any longer? There have been rumor about a revolution, that will create Cascadia, a secession of Oregon, Washington and N.California from the rest of the Union. Baryshnikov is concerned about loosing our creative community to other countries if we cannot keep things vibrant and juicy.
This might just happen.
I know that I have been talking about moving to Catalonia for about four years.
Do we make a stand, and make this place the world we want to live in, or do we just sit around and watch it die, becoming a vague shadow of what was once beautiful about America.
Today, I am wearing my 9/11 tee from Cal Skate. The minority majority…
I had a few moments, so I dashed back home, took the pup for a quick walk, and had some dinner before heading over to the IFCC for Hand2Mouth.
While waiting in line, I had a great conversation about the origins of art, what is it that we reference, what is it that is original. I stumbled upon a question, and perhaps someone can answer it… Certain areas of art reference the idea of works by an artist are art inherently, and that is in fact the critique that makes it art. I did agree, but for the sake of discussion… So, there is often a reference to duChamp’s redi-Mades and then to Jeff Koons. duChamp I love! Koons, not so much. [It is even worse when someone is making work that is referencing Koons, which is referencing nothing, which in my mind is a silly feed-back loop to no where!] So, my question is, whom or what is the bridge from duChamp to Koons. There is a long period of time there of amazing artistic works… but what is that bridge?
Please comment to help educate me.
Thank you.
OK, so then we sat down to see Hand2Mouth. They are very entertaining. For many, that is great! I would highly recommend the show, as you could see the intention, love and passion that the cast poured into it. It is great, as entertainment. But, I keep phrasing it as such, because I [as strange as it might sound] do not like to be entertained. I like to be challenged. You have to understand, I do not read novels, I read textbooks for fun. I do not watch television.
What I do love, is that when I talked with people afterwards, they were so relieved when I told them that I did not love the show, or rather that the show was great, but that I myself did not find it appealing to my desires and sensibilities.
This is the beauty of T:BA.
This year there is quite a variety of works to go and see. Some things I love, some I tolerate, some are interesting and some are just banal. But, there is always potential.
Not everyone love everything. That is the beauty of our country, that it the beauty of the curation of this year’s T:BA. This is why I am quite happy this year. Thank you Mark Russell, you did a great job with the line-up. Thank you.
Lastly was the Portland Cello Project at the Wonder Ballroom.
If you do not know much about them, then I would recommend checking out their MySpace page, and attending some other performances. They are still rather new, and looking to expand, GREATLY! They want to have a hundred or more cellists at some point, so if you play, please contact them. If you are a composer, please contact them.
There was one piece they performed which was quite beautiful, it was operatic in nature, and I really loved it.
I would love to learn cello some day. I have played it once. I went to David Kerr and asked to play one, and they were kind enough to indulge me. The sound, the reverberation,… I LOVE CELLO! When Yo Yo Ma came to town, I camped out to get one of the scalped tickets. I go to see every Adam Hurst performance that I may. Long live cello!
OK, gotta get downtown for the Noon:30 chat…
Fredrick H. Zal
Architect | Sculptor | Advocate
Atelier Z
an.architecture and industrial design studio
advocating dialogue in the fine + applied arts