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Monday, December 8, 2014

I won't be blackmailed.

For a little while I forgot about everything.
I forgot about my responsibilities and my anguish over politics.
I forgot about my goals and my bills. I just...  enjoyed looking at the art. I enjoyed seeing how a variety of material was manipulated, how shape and color can influence messages, how humor finds me at art shows, how to appreciate wickedly good craftsmanship and stand in awe before a masterfully inspired mark. This year the Miami art fair week wasn't unbelievable, but it wasn't bad.
There were some sweet pieces. Much of it was all cake to me.
Unfortunately, there's backlash about having such a rich show in town completely devoted to the business of art making, marketing, and manipulating, when black men in our country are mortally and freely harassed in our neighborhoods. The insinuation is: how can people go and stand in front of art works with their backs set to this moment of seething frustration and community pain?



This gave me an idea for a lesson plan
Or how can so much money change hands in circles so far from the street level where the 90% survive?
Even though I avoided the mass protests and found my way, in spite of traffic, to the art festivities three days running, I didn't deny Michael Brown or Tamir Rice. I am not a racist. I don't want to feel like one. My defense: hedonism and hesitation.  I did not want to boycott the events or miss the party. I cannot insist that the art fairs reflect the current moral outrage, though I believe that artist's in their studios can and will reflect our culture. The art under the tents is already old. And there was plenty violence and pain there.
My two favorite works were- a photo by Diane Arbus, and a print by Jasper johns from his Regrets series.
Can I keep my art seeking and my community pain on separate plates?
I tried. And, dropping another plate, I will admit that I never called my youngest son this week, who, it turns out, was horribly sick with the flu! My mother plate was somewhere floating in the air, not yet in my juggling grasp. I am not a bad mother. I was just enjoying the art party.
It was so nice... to see so much art and good friends in town,... one week, once a year.
I do not want to feel bad for that.
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