what did i miss
“The Agony and the Ecstasy” - Damien Hirst.
Your work speaks the truth, Mr. Hirst, and more articulately than yourself:
Jenny Holzer/Why I Should Finally Get a Tattoo
For those who don’t know, Jenny Holzer works with words. She’s known for her “Truisms,” bits of wisdom often projected in public through a medium of light. They can be as simple as “Abuse of power comes as no surprise,” or “Protect me from what I want,” but her more current projections tend to be more poetic and abstract.
I appreciate the Truisms like a good fortune cookie or the musings of a seasoned bus-rider. They seem to embrace this exchange of taking advice from a stranger, and the ambiguous ends of sender/receiver are not uncomfortable. But what I love about her recent projections is the added conversation about the permanence of words. Her wisdom and prose seem committed to the site. They are displayed with conviction, almost defiantly plastered across historical facades. They don’t claim to be holy, and the idea can still exist with or without the words. And once you acknowledge that the words will disappear once the projector is turned off, you are left to consider the permanence of their meaning on this site as well as the permanence of the site itself.
I suggest watching “About Jenny Holzer” on Netflix and following her on the perfectly-catered medium of Twitter, and then following her fake twitter account “Jenny Holzer, Mom” because it’s a real knee-slapper.
This is art, operating in reverse.
More specifically, it’s Leonard Bernstein conducting the Vienna Philharmonic using only his face. Instead of leading the musicians, he is actively observing them. He’s conducting, technically, but in a way that completely transforms the relationship between artist and audience. The details are here:
But I’m seeing this as more than just a peculiar technique of conducting, I’m seeing the exchange between artist and audience getting completely flipped here. The production of art has always operated on a very fundamental and necessary timeline that begins with the creation of art followed by the audience’s reaction to the art. The painting is painted, and the question is inherently asked “Do you like it?” and the audience says “We like it/hate it!” In this case, however, the audience’s reaction to the piece is the original inspiration. Bernstein’s appreciation for the art is modifying it in real time. When he furrows his brow the violins dig deeper, he lifts his chin and they soar. Every reaction takes the piece in a new direction. And sure, the musicians were going to play those notes anyway whether he bit his lip or fell asleep, but the actual audience of the evening were witness to one man’s simultaneous creation and appreciation of music.
I think it professes a humbling outlook on life, quite honestly. It’s a suggestion that things can be beautiful if you decide to see them that way, that you can direct your own emotions, and that the fate of beautiful things is in your control.
“Suspended Ball” Alberto Giacometti, 1931
It’s been a guiding light for me as an artist since the day I first saw it, projected on the wall of my intro sculpture class. I’ve obsessed over its sense of coy and its gut-wrenching power to inspire physical wants. I need the ball to split, to slip comfortably across the wedge, to swing and fulfill its mechanical potential. The power of this piece is certainly in that ability to inspire a physical want, a sort of guttural desire that tugs at your entire body and leaves its audience in perpetual denial of that tactile satisfaction. “Suspended Ball” is simple, innocuous, colorless, and dripping with suspense.