Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Longevity

I have had a very interesting week. It was interesting because I feel like I am "blooming". I have had so many revelations and insights. One of the things that have come up repeatedly during this fertile time is the idea of longevity. It is so common for the criteria for “hot artists” or art that is sought after are works by artists so young. I really don’t understand this. WELL…….I do understand it, but maybe I don’t want to believe it. Contrary to popular belief, experienced artists seem to have attributes that should be of value. It is too bad that isn’t the common, accepted knowledge.

I remember back in the 80’s, I built an installation about the “Emerald City” at the Michigan Gallery. It had an emerald green sculpture surrounded by about 50 pounds of glitter and of course, the ruby slippers shined under the lights. The installation had been built in a 5’ X 5’ X 5’ wooden “room”. I came up with that dimension because I figured I was less than 5’ tall. I could stand or sit or lay in any direction within the installation and still fit! Anyway, the outcome of the installation was gorgeous. During the opening, things got out of hand, someone got in there, and ruined it. I was so angry I wrote a public letter, copied it, and pasted it up all over the art community. In the letter, I said something like “It doesn’t matter that you (the people who screwed up my installation) didn’t respect my art because I will be around far longer than you will!!” Even though when I think about this now and I realize it was stupid, I was right. I know with certainty that the odds are in my favor now. I am still an artist and so, so few of those people from that era have anything at all to do with art now.

Then this weekend, I was speaking (via email) to my best art friend in the world GILDA SNOWDEN. She told me about her new work and how she bought a couple of new griddles for her encaustic paintings. This brought on a new frustration. I admire Gilda more than just about any other artist (including Rauchenberg!). She has been there. She has done that. She is so real. She has longevity too. Yet, I read and hear newer artists talking about encaustics like they invented it. They speak as if it is a new medium. Gilda didn’t invent it either. However, she has worked with that smoking wax for more years than she would want me to mention.

So, I think the idea here is experience should be valued. Life experiences and the wisdom of the years should be treasured. I just feel sad that our society doesn’t seem to realize this.

Ha!! This is a pic my daughter and I in front of the Willis Gallery in Detroit circa 1984. I had already been an exhibiting artist for ten years when this pic was taken. She has already graduated from college and working on her career in broadcasting now. Not to sound cliché, but if I knew then what I know now………..well……you know the rest.

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