Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Thinking About Art
My family and I finished up our ArtPrize tour with a special trip to see Young Kim's salt & earth, an installation of portraits comprised entirely of salt and clay. I saw it, I heard how he did it (think silkscreening), yet I can still hardly believe it's possible.
Transitory art, photography of the moment. These portraits of local people, already deteriorating from humidity and vandalism, will be swept away in a few days. The enjoyment of the piece is fleeting, as are the lives represented there, and those viewing them.
Our local paper has done a nice job of covering ArtPrize and acquainting the unfamiliar with how to experience these creations. The tips offered in today's edition were particularly helpful as a guide to voting by tonight's final deadline.
In my words:
-Go with your gut. Does a piece move you?
-Look for evidence of skill. How well is it crafted?
-Search for significance. What's the larger meaning?
These "local experts" thankfully put aside their own tastes to help foster public dialogue on art. The presence of ArtPrize throughout the city has wakened right brains everywhere: you've got people thinking past the obvious, wondering what something means, why it's there. That's not just any 73-foot doll leaning on the side of a downtown restaurant--it's a giant symbol of hidden emotional scars. Or it's something else entirely for you.
Oh the debates my kids have had over which piece of art should win the grand prize! How incensed they are that I voted for the Children's Museum mural and not the giant monster in the Grand River! They yell playfully at me before returning to their drawings and collages, to the serious pursuit of their own art.