James Turrell’s installations are made of empty, titanium white painted rooms where embedded LED and fiber-optic lights project an array of programmed changing colors on the walls. Photography is never allowed. Others, like the one I am bringing you today called Dividing The Light, are constructions with an opening cut-out in the ceiling (skyspaces). Spectators can view the sky by day and night, observing its variable color as time progresses but also as the colors of the inside walls change. And that’s where you almost cannot believe your eyes : seeing the sky a given shade of mid-blue one moment, how can it suddenly look grey and diaphaneous as the walls turn purplish red? How can it shift to a darker blue when the walls go from white to yellow to brown, turning the sky almost black and opaque in the process ?
The year that was 2017 is drawing to a close very fast. Oh what a year! I started it with two resolutions: 1/ Launch my art appreciation blog. 2/ Run my first marathon. I am proud I made good on both counts. The marathon was hard but the discipline helped me fill this site with more than 50 articles spanning so much art and so many very different artists. Looking back, I hopefully made you travel from Monet’s Impressionism and Seurat’s Pointillism to the Art Nouveau of Tiffany glass vases. I enjoyed sharing some of my favorite artists with you, including Korean artists Do Ho Suh’s work on displacement and Nam June Paik’s media art. Along the way, this fitted with reflecting on subjects close to my (he)art which I live by in my daily life: how to bring up kids in museums in a fun way and how pop up art experiences may or may not fit the bill as true art.
If you think you can walk from the Eiffel Tower to the Venice canals without crossing the street, you’ve either lost your mind or you’re in Las Vegas. Maybe both experiences are one and the same thing, actually. With Las Vegas being mostly all about walking endlessly through hotels and losing oneself (and more!) in the sprawling casinos, what’s real and what’s fake soon amounts to the exact same thing. It can be hard for your brain to know which is which. Disoriented by permanently dimmed lights, a pervasive smell of cigarettes and constant chimes from slot machines, it is quite hard even knowing what time of day it is. Las Vegas being a place where very little brain power is required, what little you bring, you’re encouraged to loose. Nevertheless, ask most people and they will tell you they associate Las Vegas with epic memories, usually rooted in excesses of all kind such as gambling, drinking, spending, but memories all the same. The infamous “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” sums it all.
Earlier this summer, I watched the movie Monet and I on the plane back from Europe. The following day, at a routine vision appointment, I was told I had typical California sun damage AND cataract on both eyes. The drama queen in me immediately thought about Monet and how cataract actually plagued his life, altered his perception of colors and pushed him slowly but surely towards the abstraction visible in his Grandes Décorations (1914-1926) at L’Orangerie. But let’s face it, cataract is no big deal nowadays. I won’t need the routine operation for another 10-15 years so what did I do? I got some cool glasses instead. Then I got a nasty inflammation on my sun damage areas and got to wear my cool frames a lot! This made me think about how much I rely on my eyes. And just like that, I was back thinking of Monet.
Kids, I know, it’s not your fault but when you’re off school, there is a good chance you’ll end at the museums. At least, this is how it goes in my world. Sometimes, my two small loves (8 and 10) hide their joy, pretend to like it or plainly scream “Nooooo, not the museum”…So, I usually make it a surprise (yes, I am a cruel Mum! :-). But I am also a Mum who cares about Art and about what Art does to people, especially kids. So to break the chanting spell of “Mum, can I play on the iPad?” and avoid a nuclear explosion on my part, I took them to Wonderspaces here in San Diego, a small pop-up art installation which was bound to NOT look like a traditional museum. Results: Emerald gave it 9/10 and Gustav 8.7/10. I really wanted to know why so I interviewed them. One less hour on the iPad! Yes! And I’ll even put it in picture.
Frame what you see…Look up and beyond…Learn about yourself… Six months ago when I published my first post, I recognized these as axes underpinning my personal grid. I have always looked intently. I love to learn. Yet what triggered this blog was really the need to frame it all in my eyes, my mind and my life. Along came the hope that others would get it (get me!) and perhaps go see and look a bit more. Writing became a way to crystallize it all while facilitating the sharing element. It was no accident that I chose Robert Irwin’ s caged bougainvillea trees at the Getty Museum as opening picture to my first blog post then. Now at my 6-month mark of weekly publishing, I am thinking about another Robert Irwin’s masterpiece. This one I use like others use prayer beads.
How come I am about to praise the virtues of exercise, writing as a guest of Rancho La Puerta? I was the kind of girl in high school who would look for any excuse NOT to attend Sports (PE) class, especially when the dreaded 12-min long Cooper Test was on the agenda… So what exactly happened to that girl? Why is she writing a blog about completing her first marathon, age 41, in 4 hours…and 35 seconds? And why is she also checking out Running Retreats at Rancho La Puerta, voted Best Destination Spa in the world for many years running?
Remember the days when you were a student? Can you clearly picture yourself almost drinking every word uttered by your favorite teacher or can you only see the blur of the parties? What about going from one class to the next, head bent watching your steps, on automatic pilot. Fully absorbed in your thoughts on managing your work load with all your upcoming deadlines, how often did you remember to look up? What about today? What does it take to look up and what difference does it make to your day? This is a subject dear to Robert Irwin’s heart, a Californian artist who keeps inspiring my vision of life. His art is all about engaging you to look, not just see. Between 1981-1983, he had an opportunity to fight what he so aptly calls “habituation” in a place where this matters most crucially. A university campus. Try walking through a university some time. Each time I do I can’t help but think about which one of these bright kids is thinking hard about a new approach or a new discovery that will change the world we know. If these students succumb to “habituation” and become immune to their surroundings […]