Monday, February 27, 2006

The Emperor and His Fabric?


On Sunday afternoon I dragged my patriarchy-blamin' pal Twisty down to the Austin Museum of Art to take a look at their present show. It's works of husband and wife public art team, Christo and Jeanne-Claude from the Wurth Museum collection. As usual, the Stingray and Twisty ideals are rarely in agreement in most matters, and especially the matter of art. I thought it was a very pleasing exhibit of some of their most notable work, and Twisty walked through the rooms whispering, "The emperor has no clothes".

Now, while some may fail to see why one, or in this case two, would want to literally wrap the Reichstag in Berlin, I think there is much to be said about creating pieces to provoke thought in a public forum. Other projects are perhaps more reasonably accessible, such as the Gates in Central Park, NYC lining every pathway through the park in 2005, or their 1962 Wall of Oil Barrels installed in the Rue Visconti, Paris protesting the Berlin Wall, constructed the year prior. This project stayed up for only 8 hours, but was highly visible due to it's impeding traffic to the West Bank of the city. The piece undoubtedly marked a time affecting generations to come, and is worthy of imitation and study.

Twisty's point that only a pompous ego would interfere with a natural ecosystem in order to "install fabric", or anything else, is one that cannot be avoided. However, much art is created with the fundamental idea that a person of unique human experience has something worthy of attention. The likeliness of that assumption is doubtable, but I don't believe it negates a project fueled by the notion. My point? Many artists are pompous egotists- it hasn't stopped them before and the larger public has much to benefit.

Judge for yourself.

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