Thursday, September 11, 2008

"9 dreams and whistling" is the song

Today is September 11th and I remember.
9/11 babies will turn 9 this year
and this war has gone on over 5 years now...
(please PAUSE)

Walking through the Institute of Contemporary Art yesterday my friend Beau and I got to talking about various trends in modern art and the importance of generosity of spirit, rigor, and real commitment. Some of the artists whose work was on display seemed to favor exploiting their personal traumas/minutiae of their lives with an abundant helping of preciousness and implied fragility. These works reminded me of notes from middle or high school, passed to a best friend or boyfriend, full of implied meanings more than the sum of their parts. In a way, some of these artists seemed to be looking to elevate the 'meaning' or 'importance' of their work by hiding some part of it, by making us feel the voyeur, making us look very closely at the tiny half-erased pencil poetry... Beau was contrasting this kind of work with some of Gerhard Richter's work that he saw recently. Being a great lover of blurred images myself, I am a longtime fan of Richter's, and I especially admire his dynamism as an artist, tackling new forms and techniques and seemingly without even the slightest self-consciousness. His work is large and aggressive and bold and GENEROUS.

I want to do work that is both personal, and intimate, but also GENEROUS. Some of my favorite artists: Sophie Calle, Charlie Kaufman, Pina Bausch, Ariane Mnouchkine, Miranda July, Jonathan Safran Foer... are able to achieve precisely this and I love them for it. I also love the feeling when I see some piece of their's, maybe the movie Me and You and Everyone We Know, or Sophie Calle's downtown NYC phonebooth project... and it seems so incredibly brilliant and of a very singular vision but funny and smart and accessible to MANY different kinds of people.
Now, since I am on the subject of art and heroes, here's one I am lucky to call a friend, ... and honestly, if the world had more people like John Hawkes in it-- oh what a wonderful place it would be.

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