I coulda did that!

 

 

 

 

I attended an art opening over the weekend and you can always spot the people who have never been to an art opening before. They stand by the door or by the bar the majority of the night, they are inappropriately dressed (usually dressed for the club. Side note: You can be an art lover and be dressed for the club, but the folks I saw over the weekend were dressed for the club AND awkward because they too realized they were the only folks dressed for ladies night at the Boomboom room), they make only make conversation with whoever accompanied them to the shindig, and most of all they don’t look at the art!They don’t look at the art! OR they look at the work and utter, arguably one of the most disrespectful phrases, “I coulda did that!”  Yea, you coulda but you didn’t.

My problem with the “I coulda did that” phrase is not only is it inconsiderate of art history, the artists’ concept, and the piece but it establishes a value system. A stupid phrase does all of that and it is uttered by artists and non-artists alike. Now, there is no doubt that we all have those “What the hell is this?!” kind of moment but at the same time there are more things to consider instead of whether or not you missed your chance to create a Joan Mitchell-esqu painting just because you think you can when in reality you can’t nor did you.

Its interesting to me that people only want to be amazed (Ron Mueck) or plain ol’ pleased (Bartolome Perez). They don’t want to think too much about the work (Felix Gonzalez Torres), nor do they want to be confused (Janine Antoni). Viewers want to feel good. They want to view nice, aesthetically pleasing paintings from Europe because obviously that is the only real art left in the world. Duh!

So today I got to thinking to myself. I said to myself, SELF- There are two ways to look at art: You can look at a piece without really looking of course and say “I coulda did that”. In doing so, not only have you failed to form a critical opinion, but you have discredited the artist’s labor, knowledge of art history  and concept with 4 words (one of which that really doesn’t exist.. so more like 3 1/2 words).

– OR –

You can look at the work, say “I coulda did that… but I didn’t. So why did he/ why did she create this?” You can read the damned didactic placard (that gives you someone else’s opinion about the work) as a base of understanding why there are green candies on the floor. The placard also has a title that sometimes gives a little insight to a piece, a date and the name of the artist. As  Talib Kweli says “Information is the new religion”. So instead of writing someone off as an idiot who got lucky, google ’em!

Cindy Sherman Retropsective at DMA

This another one of those quick posts that will have bad grammar, ridiculous spelling and FULL of my unfiltered opinions. A few weeks ago, I had woke up one morning and decided that I wanted to go to Dallas. Seriously. I woke up and thought, “I’m going to Dallas today. I have a tank of gas, family that will feed and house me during my stay and time to do so.” For the first time in YEARS, I have time to do things, yet I don’t want to do anything. I want to watch Weeds and lounge around in my birthday suit eating Nutella…. but I digress.

After driving through the Tornado watch that spanned from Waco to DFW, I arrived in Dallas and immediately went to the DMA. FYI the DMA has made changes to their admission fees. General Admission (permanent collection) is now free, but to see anything on the ground floor you have to pay $16. So in actuality you’re still paying General Admission plus the fee for special Exhibitions…. SIDE NOTE: The permanent collection at the DMA has not changed since I was in Elementary school so I understand not charging people to see it, but charging twice the amount the see the special exhibition is… a pimp move… kudos to you DMA! Make that Money Honey!

Cindy Sherman’s Retrospective opened my eyes to a few things: 1) Homegirl is a hell of a photographer. She works! From her college years in the 60-70s to 2012, were photographs of Sherman’s many faces, set designs, costumes etc not only exhibit the changes she has gone through as an artist but also exhibit the changes in art production. From Gelatin Silver prints to Ink Jet images 3’x4′. In earlier works, she “handled” the prints more through the use of  collage and hand coloring versus and in later works, Photoshop (or other design/editing software) is used to enhance and layer the images. Sherman rolled with the punches and changes of our time to continue to produce the work she wanted to make.

The size of Sherman’s works also surprised me. Seeing her images in books or magazines do not do them justice. While her earlier works were smaller (no larger than 9.5×11) her later works range from 3’x4′ to mural sized (12′-15′ x 20′). I personally enjoy work that confronts me physically. Meaning, I enjoy work where my body (or perhaps the audience’s body) has been taken into consideration. However there were a few people (older ladies and gents and people probably not familiar with her work ) who became uncomfortable and felt that they were “too close” or the work was “in your face”. Its always interesting to see how people react to some work. Sometimes they are amazed, indifferent, uninterested because their wife dragged them along and never underestimate the buffoon that utters ” I coulda did that!”

Lastly, seeing Sherman’s retrospective enabled an inner dialogue within myself where I yelled at myself for not working enough, eating Nutella in my birthday suit while watching Chopped, Weeds and other schedule programming. What am I doing with my summer?!?!

I’m so ashamed! And just when I was about to kick myself in the arse again, I got into my car and looked into the back seat. Instead of clothes were all 3 volumes of the Black body in Western Art, catalogues, magazines, art history/critical readings, photo copies of Rosalind Krauss text and sketchbooks… maybe I’m not so awful after all. But I still need to put on some clothes and get some work done. 

So  I drove to my grandmother’s house ate Blue Bell Key Lime Pie flavored Ice cream and watched Project Runway re-runs while planning my trip to the Modern of Ft. Worth to see Barry McGee’s exhibition the next day. It was amazing. Books all over the floor, Project Runway (Tim Gunn: Make it Work!)… and key lime pie ice cream…. AND I was clothed!

 

 

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