Friday, January 28, 2005


I am recovering from yesterday's precoffee error. I got the piece together enough to show a friend, who decided it wasn't as bad as I thought. While talking to her, and chatting online to a couple others, I came to the point where I had to tell myself to remember the May Show.

As my bio says, I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. You may or may not know, but Cleveland Art Museum is a world-class institution (and still free!!) When I lived there, I would visit frequently. (I still can't imagine that there are people who didn't grow up seeing Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Mondrian every year as a regular part of their field trip season.)

Anyway, every year, the museum the holds an open show of new work, The May Show. Those displayed are often college art students, some people like me who work on their art at home.. most are not known in any faction of the professional art world. Techniques, styles and messages range all over the board.

When attending May Shows, there were often pieces where the creator tried to hit the viewer over the head (figuratively most of the time) with the message of the piece. I never liked these pieces. They would stop me from appreciating thier work, because they demanded that I pay attention NOT to the work, but to the message.

So when someone suggested screening images of cellphones, and tvs.. or writing conversations, or quilting the explanation in the border... I would say: that's a possibility I will consider. But, inside, I find myself thinking back to those May Shows of the past. I think there is enough "contextual" meaning in the piece already, with an "on the surface" body and and empty head in the center of the piece. So I think I will restrain myself. I will adopt the philosophy of trusting the viewer to see what they need in the piece. I will remember the May Show.

1 comment:

Mrs. Mel said...

I so agree with you about message art. It's either a message or it's art, but rarely ever both. I would much rather read a diatribe than look at one, let alone make one.
I sometimes feel that the maker of message art wants the world to think she is somehow less ditsy than we are. I am highly offended by her estimation of my ditsyness.