Hop hop hop

I took my 12-year old on a Chelsea gallery hop. The 17-year old is out of the game. She has a Saturday gig and a boyfriend now. There’s no room for gallery hops with Dad. Eventually, I’ll lose 12-year old too and be back to wandering around these galleries alone. I’m not hurt or insulted. It’s the nature of how things work.

I think she was a bit bored. I occasionally caught her standing in a corner staring at her phone instead of the art. I think she enjoyed the time spent with Dear Aul Da but I’m not sure how she feels about art. I either opened a world for them or turned them off to art permanently. It could go either way. But you have to make the introduction. What happens after that is out of my control.

This is Anthony McCall’s fetching light installation Split Second at the Sean Kelly Gallery.

I’m like a parrot. I like shiny objects and light is my favorite medium. Light + mist is even better.

A young child ran into the light and I couldn’t resist a pic.

James Turrell is the grandmaster for me but this is a very fine example of McCall’s ‘solid light’ works.

This room of shoe oddities tucked in the back of the Marlborough Gallery is Towards An End to Biological Perception by Genesis P-Orridge. Animal lovers beware.

My daughter didn’t spend any time looking at these. She found them disturbing, spun around on her heels and walked straight out, which I understand. But *I* liked them.

The larger part of the gallery is filled with Davina Semo’s large scale sculptures in All The World. Along the floor are heavy cubic bales that anchor chains linked to bells cast from bronze.

I didn’t want to get thrown out so I asked permission to ring the bells and they said it was OKAY. So you can imagine what that lead to.

Brightly colored reflective acrylic sheets studded with ball bearings hang on the walls throughout.

I was reading a review in ARTnews, which is something I rarely do. ARTnews sucks all the joy out of art. The reviewer said of the piece in question:

For an oeuvre that is so self-consciously synthetic, the overall experience offers a surprisingly potent meditation on attention, lifespans and mortality itself.

What does that even MEAN? I have a very base, visceral reaction to art. I look at it. Does it make me have a proper laugh (in the good or bad way)? Is it beautiful to behold? These are my criteria. It’s why I hate political art.

41 thoughts on “Hop hop hop

  1. I need to start making dates with my kids… boys are more restless and i assume that if they are blur to me, anything they are passing in front of is a blur to them….but there’s no other way for them to learn to shake the ants from their pants….

    Cool that you saw the p-orridge show. Not surprised some, like daughter #2, would run….Crowley-esque occultists are generally scary….s/he needs to let the Robert Anton Wilson influence come out a bit more.

    What was the tonal quality of the bells? I have a very pure, Tibetan (probably because of the p-orridge images) bell sound in my head….

    • I started dragging the girls to galleries and museums at an early age. S walks around the Met like she owns the joint. Going to a museum was intimidating to me. I didn’t want that to be their experience, too. I highly recommend it.

      That P-orridge piece is tucked in the back. I almost missed it. They probably do that intentionally.

      The bells sounded the way they looked. Deep. Each is a different size so no two pitches are the same. A thick, black rope tired to the clapper hangs down. You give it a good yank.

  2. I’m with you on the puffed-up critics.But you knew that!
    And it’s understandable that the girls/young women want to cut their own steps now. As you say, they may later greatly appreciate all your trips, partly for the art, thought I suspect, when they look back, the greater enjoyment will be of having a sharing father.

  3. I don’t understand how an oeuvre can be self-consciously synthetic. But I like the light stuff. And I like your photos of the light stuff. There might be a great self-consciously synthetic meta-statement to be made in there somewhere, but I’ll leave it to the reviewers to write, in a way I can’t understand, probably. Good job in the pics, is what I’m trying to say. Especially the hand one and the little kid one.

    • Quite frankly, I’m not even 100% sure what an oeuvre is. I know the word exists but I’ve been too lazy all these years to look it up. It’s not something you eat, right? You can tell by the context.

      The light installation was fantastic. As you walk through and around it you getting all these great perspectives that constantly change because off the mist. And all for free! All these galleries are free!

  4. The photograph of the small child is an excellent composition!

    For an oeuvre that is so self-consciously synthetic = Deliberately made from man-made materials.

    the overall experience offers a surprisingly potent meditation on attention, lifespans and mortality itself. = It reminds us of natural experiences – especially death.

    People used to have bells put on their coffins. The ring cord would be inside the coffin – people had a big fear of being buried alive so they would have a bell they could ring to prevent this happening.


    • That kid ran into the light and I only had a split second to take it. I wish it were sharper but I’m lucky I got it at all.

      Thank you for dissecting that passage from the review! Much obliged. Should we have to work that hard?

      • I guess it’s just another language – if we learn a few phrases we can get by!
        BTW, I’m not saying my interpretation is the only interpretation…. it’s the same as reading a book, we all come away with different ideas after reading the same book.

  5. People who use language like that actually have nothing to say. It’s like a huge linguistic lego set. The same hundred phrases get used over and over again in different permutations.

    I’m lucky with my girls — they’ve always been into visual art and going round a gallery counts as a good day out for them. Keep working on her!

    • That’s an astute observation! I have seen those words and phrases in the past although not in the same order. The sentence construction is dissimilar but the Babel is the same.

      There is hope. I mentioned the Warhol exhibit at the Whitney and they both seemed genuinely enthusiastic.

  6. Nice post. Love the macabre shoe art. I’m sure your girls will come to whatever art floats their boats at some point in the future or not. I didn’t do any of that as a kid, I tried not to leave the house, but now I spend hours in galleries and my walls are covered in art.

    • Thank you, much. I came to art late in life, as well. I had no exposure growing up but after I left home I started to poke around and finally convinced myself to visit a museum. It was intimidating at first but it didn’t take long. Now I’m a Big Art Cheese (in my own head).

  7. I’m not particularly artistic, who am I kidding I don’t know art at all, but whenever I visit an exhibition and see something that resonates with my subconscious I always have a hard time forgetting it. I’m 26 now, looking for a job, not sure how often I’ll get the time to appreciate art, but I know one thing. I won’t be looking at my phone.

    • I don’t know art either! Are you kidding?! I have no formal education. Fortunately, it’s not required. If you want to be a heart surgeon, you’d better get yourself a degree. But art appreciation is totally subjective and doesn’t require any special knowledge. Even an unschooled dope like me can develop an affinity for it.

      26 is such a great place. I envy you.

  8. Thanks Mark, this is some more Art that I never knew existed. I am amazed what artists come up with. I don’t judge it, I either like it or not, i.e the shoes, creepy Art. Light installations are cool. Nice kid, where is all the piercings, tats and ear lobe plugs? You did a good job.
    On a personal level, this post reminds me of my teenage years back in sixties. My dad took me every week to the car races, starting at the age of six. I loved it. Around 15 I did want to go anymore. It really disappointed him. Years later after I was divorced I would take him to the car races all the time. Kids don’t forget.
    That is the reason I quit buying THE NEW YORKER, I couldn’t understand what they were writing.

    • She’s too young for all those rebellious teenage accouterments but there’s still time. The first daughter would’ve have done it but this one is different. She might date a biker or something.

      That kind of art gobbledygook is that alienates folks. It’s off-putting and sounds pretentious. The art world would do themselves a big, fat favor if they stopped behaving like a bunch of smarty-pants.

  9. Fuck that review at the end. That’s just mud. I’ve been wondering lately about the several lotteries in a row winning streak that humanity is on… do you know what the odds are against us even being here, let alone being in a position to create things like the first bits of art you showed? Lucky enough for you to capture a kid in the mist, the mist curling up like that? I find it a statistical oddity. I’m one. So are you. As a result, let’s make art, try to get our kids interested, and live the hell out of this life.

    • The entire review was chock-a-block with this kind of silly artspeak. It’s a disservice to the work and creates a distance between the artist and his/her work. Come down off your academic pedestal. It’s warm and friendly down here.

      They may look bored at the galleries and museums but I occasionally catch them talking about it to their friends. Maybe they’re keeping all the dissatisfaction for me alone. I can’t imagine why *I* would be the soul recipient!

  10. Writing like that makes me happy to be an amateur. I have no idea what it means either, and I actually read it three times (okay, I skimmed on the third attempt). It’s good you asked permission to ring the bells. 😏

  11. I’m so glad you were able to ring the bells, what did they sound like?
    I love light too, and mist. I had some idea of doing a photo series of household objects posed in illuminated mist somewhere outside, but have never quite managed to get all the elements together.

  12. I view art as strange and unusual like being eccentric and imagining things outside the box so to speak. I really enjoy it because it’s like using your creative mind and stretching it as far out as it can go. Art is a blast and it seems to be an extension of the person who designed it. Like expressing the inner core of who or what they really want to become.

    • I was both indifferent and a little afraid of art when I was growing up. I just didn’t get that much exposure. I’m making up for lost time now and making damn sure my kids don’t have to go through the same discomfort I did when faced with a painting or sculpture

  13. How the hell is your oldest already 17? She was 7 or so when you started this enterprise. A gig? A boyfriend?

    You’ve done, and continue to do, the best thing you can. Spend time with them. Values are set pretty early in life. Even if your kids wander a bit from those values, they’re still in there, and will resurface when they get older…

  14. I don’t envy anyone with teenage daughters… and how does one remain sane when teenage daughter has a boyfriend, i remember being a 17yr old male and i believe i had exactly one thing on my mind and it’s not what a father would approve of i know that lol!!! I’m just hitting the phase where the I-mac is getting too cool for his parents, it’s alright though, it’s the way things go…

    and then there’s Genesis P-orridge… my junior year of college i did a second radio show at Podunk U. on Saturday afternoons, there were only two shows that day at my second rate uni, mine and a guy nicknamed Gordo who loved Psychic TV and Meat Beat Manifesto and other music of that genre, my show was pretty much industrial music and since no one was around i had a habit of dropping acid and doing my show and then hanging with Gordo’s through his, if i had a spare tab i’d give it to him and we’d have the studio sound system blasting this music and rattling the windows in the middle of Pennsyltucky, we’d lock the door and call one of our friends to bring us booze and smoke joints in the back of the station which was right in the middle of campus and a short walk from the cafeteria, sometimes we made it to dinner and sometime our shows which were supposed to be three hours each would end up running into the early AM, oh memories, i once played My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult’s song Cooler than Jesus for two hours straight, what a laugh.

  15. Thanks for doing all the leg work on my trip to the art museum. Great pictures especially the ones with your daughter in them. As far as that art critique goes I’m rubbing my hands together! Nothing gets my creative juices going like pretentiousness like that! It’s gold. If you need me I’ll be checking out ArtNews. I pray they have it online!

  16. I think it’s great you are opening your daughters to the world of art museums, Mark. They’ll form their own opinions one way or another, yes, and that surely is the whole point of your mission.

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