Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Pile of Junk Can Be Art, Too, If It Also Has You!

One day while downtown for jury duty, I ate my lunch in the courtyard of the LA Museum of Contemporary Art.

I sat beside a fountain and looked at a 25 foot high, 18 foot wide sculpture made of severly damaged airplane and helicopter parts. It was cleverly structured to look like the pile of junk had fallen naturally into place, but against gravity, as the pile was larger at the top and very small at the bottom and was suspended above the ground bound and stitched with steel cable.

I analyzed this art as I ate my sandwich and drank my iced tea, contemplating for revelation: this had to be more than a pile of junk. It had to be more than the labor of its construction and the toil of the installation. This pile of junk had to have some meaning, this sandwich is pretty good! Wait: it is an upside down pile of junk. Am I supposed to be thinking of plane crashes? I can only think of who this guy musta slept with to get such a prominent showing of their piece! Maybe a woman made it; how sexist of me to presume only a man would manage this much wrecked and wrested steel! The artist is probably somebody famous maybe I should know who it is. Maybe I'll go get a cookie for dessert. Is this sculpture about the price we pay for breaking the laws of nature? Why do modern contemporary artists get away with so much? Is it a statement about the violence and destruction that permeates our daily experience but which we choose to ignore as if it would never really touch the holy ground on which we walk? Is it about nine eleven? Is it a statement about the power of sheer mass against itself? Who said the artist could put this here?!

And it came to me:

You can analyze the hell out of a pile of junk and, even if upended it will still be a pile of junk.

No comments: