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Guggenheim. Today is 02/15/10 in New York City

Walking to the Subway, I turn on my phone.

There is a message from Victoria. I call my sister back and enter a conversation over our Mom’s physical/mental condition.

Because of being awakened at 3 in the morning by a phone call and trying conversation, Victoria is tired, I can tell her life is like a glass of water filled to the rim about to spill over. The conversation sets a tone of worry and concern leaving me with an understanding that I am the only one thinking Mom’s condition can be helped. That weighs heavy on my morning.

I call Mom but Steve answers and says she is sleeping. He begins to tell me the same things Victoria told me and I cut him short saying so, and asking what Mom;s condition is at the moment. He says he is taking care of here and it is fine. Call over.

I am wondering if I am going to need to call short this trip and if so how. It took a lot of arrangement and favors to make this trip happen and I would not be able to repeat it. So this morning is starting with a dilemma. I stand behind the subway entrance sign and take a moment to breath.

I head to the Guggenheim and find a line extending from the iconic building, which I am told is normal. It reminds me of a kite tail.

Instead of waiting, I move on to the Church of the Holy Rest, which is on the next block North.

The name of the church is apt. I feel rest inside. It is inspiring me to write multiple pages in a notebook…to be published on my consecrated Space Blog when I have time – maybe while I am in my week of writing in Steamboat CO.

Church of the Holy Rest. The alter is less like an alter and more like a wall, leaving me the feeling of being at a terminal – the end of the line, I write, and elaborate, even compare it to Ha-Kotel in some characteristics.

My mind is light in creative activity and I am in the moment of ideas again, that ephemeral space that brings me life, invigorating a brain burdened by lethargy.

An attendant allows me secretly in to a locked side chapel for a few last shots. This was a good choice to enter here instead of the line. I grab a coffee and a chocolate chip cookie from the church coffee shop (a partnership with a outside company) and head over to Guggenheim which still sports a line.

Guggenheim had a profound exhibit – no art (first time in 50 years all the art was removed from the spiral galleries) : Tino Sehgal, This Progress - all interactive with people and using the Museum architecture to have conversations of depth and intimacy…. but the end result bummed me out since the show itself only highlights the lack of intimacy we truly share (the ‘actors’ or stimulants of the conversation [actually called, “interpreters”] were just doing their job and so they themselves only experienced fragmented intimacies and ideas I am sure, from which few interactions were sustainable…that is another conversation) HERE are some links about the show… apparently there is no literature about it however 80,000 have blogged about it.  Here are a few:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/01/arts/design/01tino.html?pagewanted=all

http://www.thisistomorrow.info/viewArticle.aspx?artId=225&Title=Tino%20Sehgal,%20This%20Progress%20and%20Kiss

http://culture.wnyc.org/articles/features/2010/jan/29/dont-objectify-him-tino-sehgal-guggenheim/

http://nymag.com/arts/art/reviews/63638/

The Guggenheim, show was for me a grand experience (I actually participated in the walk up the ramp three times it was that cool) it was in my thoughts compiled afterward that I realized it was, after all, an art piece or interactive performance work, rather than real life….that made me introspective and sad. I was no closer to any of these people despite the joy of engagement, than I was before I entered the museum. I guess it only served me in highlighting my starvation. The drag was that the conversations, though not programed but for the beginning and ending, were nonetheless contrived and not of personal interest (getting close, but not touching – social surrogation – virtual friendships if you will… but that, on the other hand, is the brilliance of the piece as the conversations are guided by the original premise: “what is progress?”.. and an between the lines of thought, “is progress really good?” – and though these were real people, the dialogs were mirrors of the virtual friendships we maintain online in virtual social paradigms and the exchange of personal information and opening up without personal closeness – no risk or vulnerability – but not really getting closer to loving community, more like a performance of interest at a distance, fine with the autonomous experience rather than the bonding interdependency of a real time everyday community). The Interpreters aged and the conversations were appropriate to the concerns of the age… the child inquires and asks for meaning of progress, handing one off to the teen repeating what was learned to the teen, and the teen waxes on philosophically engaging the questions of progress, religion, science, etc., and soon melding in with the adult who presses in with a situation from their life and a question of how should they deal with this situation, and finally, the introduction of the elder, who has simpler personal concerns centered in this changing world and the change of technology and concerns therin with concerns etc.

It was a intellectually stimulating piece, precisely because it was more than just invigorating conversation, but because it was impersonal and distant as a art piece and the engagements were not real – again addressing interesting paradigms: considerations in our “faux” modern age, sprinkled with the fragments of postmodernism.

A brilliant piece (which some would strongly disagree) and one of our time (hard to do – and it does – very timely in perceiving the reality paradigm we are in). This experience will feed me in weeks of reflection and comparison.

Tino Sehgal on Google

I check out the Anish Kapoor piece, Memory and again am impressed though not as provocative as the Seghal work.

One section of Memory is a square cut into the wall where one can gaze into the darkness of the construction – the blackness is deep (amazing that one can stare into a dark hole and see depth in blackness, but one can). It achieves the same subtleties of a Rothko, but without paint. In a sense it too is meditative yet at the same time confronting since it is dark rather than light and with it come that sense of nothing. Though I did for a while find it soothing in the cool emptiness. Had the heat been turned up, I might have found it more disturbing and that would be an interesting experiment, how the other senses can effect the experience looking into the void.

This compliment Seghal’s, work as I consider this line in the description of Memory: “…experience of the sculpture is in part: only glimpses of the sculpture are viewable from three vantage points that offer only glimpses of the sculpture. This processional method of viewing Memory is an intrinsic aspect of the work. Visitors are asked to contemplate the ensuing fragmentation by attempting to piece together images retained in their minds, exerting effort in the act of seeing—a process Kapoor describes as creating a “mental sculpture.”

Lastly, a very creative Filling the Void exhibition of artists and architects

Needless to say – my day has been one of deep thoughts. Profound and challenging.

I walked to find churches ending with a fave; St Vincent Ferrar.

Worked my way back to Tony’s – eating a small pepperoni pizza, and an Apple with peanut butter — edited today’s photos. Made some brown rice and watched 24.

Rois and I have some nice emails back and forth.

Call Mom – she sounds good. I hear Fox News on in the background (no wonder she can not sleep). We have a good talk. She is happy to hear from me. I go to bed knowing she is going to be all right.

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One Comment

  1. Posted February 17, 2010 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Glad you’re feeling better about your mom’s situation…

    Enjoyed the reflection on the performance art… contrived community. You only know it’s contrived, I guess, if you’ve tasted the real thing. How many have tasted the real thing?

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