“Excuse me sir…”

This is part of a concept art exhibit—the name of which is the phrase you see. I shot only this part of the installation (which was fairly large) because I thought the phrase—isolated and taken out of any context—was intriguing and cool—you know Victorian decorum—politely holding the door for someone as the Titanic is going down—now that’s class!

This piece was in the Craddock (?) Gallery which is part of the Riverview ArtSpace building in Lynchburg I wrote about in a post 10 days ago (Madness & ArtJ)

Here’s the link: http://www.riverviews.net/

The part of the exhibit—which is (I think) the actual focal point of the piece is a big—somewhat puzzling—sculpture constructed out of miscellaneous found objects (furniture and other stuff—some whole, some in pieces), all joined together into a curious mass of shapes, angles, textures and contained spaces. It’s beyond the left side of the frame—the electric cord runs over to it.

I think the whole assemblage was painted the same shade of baby blue (I’m going on memory here—and we both know how it is with old people’s memory) and was suspended from the ceiling. Well—maybe the whole thing was covered in asphalt shingles—but it was definitely suspended from the ceiling—or maybe I’m thinking of the lighting fixtures…

I don’t know about you—but as much as I love art and the art world I am forever finding myself looking at stuff that doesn’t make a bit of sense—paintings, sculptures, concept installations like this one. Well—to be fair—this one worked a lot better for me than a lot of those X-file rejects I’ve stood staring at in other galleries. The blue was soothing and there was something about the exploding grand piano morphing into a horse’s ass that I found thought-provoking—I think it might have been a subtle commentary on classical music. I found it a lot more exciting than that show at that big New York gallery last year that got those rave reviews on all the post modern art web sites—you know the one I mean—the one that was a collection of Petri dishes filled with snot garnered from big-name Hollywood stars.  I mean it was a regular “Who’s Who” of snot–Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep, Russell Crowe. I’m sure a lot of work went into that show–all that collecting…

Even so–I just didn’t get that show.

Here’s the link if you’re interested: http://www.starsnot.net

Unless I’m tired and cranky (old people get tired and cranky a lot—it’s caused by getting old) I resist the temptation to say “To hell with this crap—life is already too complicated and incomprehensible—I don’t need this.”

Yes—I resist—and look around for signs, brochures a curator—something or someone to explain what it is I’m looking at and why I should not be instead looking at something that makes more sense—things like genocide, terrorism, homicidal Jihad, politicians who think the rules don’t apply to them (think Balgojevich and Spitzer), environmental lunacy deriving from an economy based in gradual self-destruction—you know, the stuff CNN serves up daily—that makes more sense.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m a glutton for punishment—I’m more like an aficionado. I avoid common place punishment and go straight to the good stuff (and all my friends say I don’t know how to have fun—I mean, really!)

I go to galleries and shows where there are things us arty types are expected to understand and get all hot and bothered about. We stand around drinking cheap champagne out of those stupid little plastic champagne glasses eating fish eggs, goose liver and smelly cheese and blather on about Joycean epiphanies tossing out phrases like “paradoxical juxtaposition of discordant visual harmonies” and all manner of synaesthesic babble. I mean that’s partying at stratospheric levels.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m not into “Larry the Cable Guy,” professional wrestling and I’m sorry—no offense to any one who likes this stuff—but NASCAR to me is just a bunch of high tech hillbillies driving around in circles. Now Roller-Derby—that makes sense—I mean cute girls on roller-skates in tutus and crash helmets beating the crap out of one another at 80 miles an hour—now that’s entertainment!

I suppose I’m somewhere in that ambiguous expanse between Duchamp’s urinal and “Dogs Playing Poker,”—probably closer to the dogs.

I mean nobody has ever called me a red-neck—I’m always open to new things—new perspectives—I want to grow and be more sophisticated and cool. I kept going back to that snot show until the health department closed it down trying to broaden my horizons.

Personal and artistic growth is hard-won—it’s like the eternal battle between good and evil—you can’t cave. So the next time you’re at a concept art exhibit of 12 foot high sculptures of Daddy Warbucks and Little Orphan Annie made out of bat guano just keep telling your self—it’s critically acclaimed art—I can learn to appreciate this—just keep coming back and coming back as often as you can.

You never know when the health department is going to show up.

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