The Mother Load of Art
By Oomphalos on April 26, 2012
While I have no burning desire for my four-year-old son or the sweet pea in my belly to be artists, I want them to know art, to feel art, to rely on art if they need to, to trust art when they feel they can’t trust humans, to mistrust art when their instincts tell them to, to crave art – more than salty or spicy thises or thats, more than chocolate – to find art and to allow it find them, to look for the chords, the dissonance, the obsession, the adoration and the repulsion, and the constriction and the breath in art. I want my children to have the intelligence which will help them decide when an artist is being true.
My son Enlai and I have been to exhibitions aplenty. There was the time we went to see Sigrid Holmwood at Annely Juda Fine Art, when Enlai in his baby carrier kicked his legs feverishly in front of one particular piece with fluorescent lemon yellow and lead antimonite among other media as I considered Van Gogh’s influence and started thumbing around my bag to find my sunglasses. It was bright in the gallery during Holmwood’s occupation.
While we’re on Mr. Vincent V.G., there was the Royal Academy of Arts exhibition "The Real Van Gogh: The Artist and His Letters”. Upon walking into the first room, with wall-to-wall paintings, drawings and letters, Enlai surveyed the space and in the same shouting voice he uses at the playground to get my attention when he is competing with the volume that accompanies after-school energy he declared, “Oh, great, I love Picasso!” The gentleman a few feet away was not amused. I was.
There was Cy Twombly at Tate Modern, when I did everything in my power to keep Enlai awake half the night – including cookie bribery, Tigger and Pooh impersonations, and building Play-Doh pillars as tall as the wee man – so that he’d sleep a better part of the next day, during our time at the exhibition. I wanted him to see the Twombly tour de force, but I also wanted to view the works, as if they existed only for me, as if I had all the time in the world to view them.
And in keeping with the technique of the last chancer, Enlai and I ventured over to White Cube, Mason’s Yard to see the Christian Marclay show. As to be expected on the last day of the exhibition, there was a long line outside. Spotting me with the buggy and restless toddler, the gallery invigilator/saint pulled us out of the line and told us to follow her inside the gallery. Oh, the daggers thrown at us by the sideline sufferers. I still have scars from where the blades entered. While watching Marclay’s The Clock, a 24-hour assemblage of time-associated scenes from movies, I could appreciate his concept and his obsessive adherence to his concept, but visually, watching the video for me became an exercise in “Oh, I know that film, that’s (insert title here),” and “Note to self, watch that film again,” and “Oh, what’s that actor up to these days?” Enlai, on the other hand, was glued to the screen.
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