Momentum // art doesn’t stand still

April 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

Art doesn’t stand still, they tell you. It paints itself salmon red, instead. It claims to comment on racial stereotypes of Native Americans while ironically, it stands immobile in a window display.

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The little boy staring open-mouthed at the enormous red man in the window is more art than the piece itself, however. After all, performance art is about audience reaction, anyway. So I stop scoffing at the painted man and watch the small blonde child. He’s out of place amid the black and white ties and heels of OKC art goers and I wonder who thought a late night art show would be a place for a five year-old.

We keep bumping into each other as I wander the various galleries that represent the forefront of Oklahoma’s young artistic talent. The small rooms are packed with OKC natives who nod knowingly at the stacks of wood and twists of chains on the teal wall, as if to assure themselves and everyone surrounding them that they understand. Due to some higher development of the brain (or greater consumption of highballs), they find life-changing meaning in a triptych of mismatching lines. The little boy catches my eye again as he frowns at a smeared charcoal canvas with a spotlight shining on it. I understand his disapproval. There’s an air of trying that makes me tired, but I nod at the wall anyway and shift on my tall black heels.

I stare at a wall-tall canvas of mixed media, recognizing the name of a guy I had dinner with once. I remember liking his astronaut piece, but this one reminds me of moldy chili exploding in a microwave. Colors and raised patterns and words here and there. Maybe I’m just tired, maybe it’s just me, but art looks like it’s trying too hard.

The last room.20130409-190923.jpg  A kelp forest, painstakingly cut and pasted from 100% recycled paper. The point is to immerse the viewer in a world he or she wouldn’t otherwise experience. I didn’t expect kelp to be rough, but I close my eyes a wriggle through the thick forest anyway. I run into the little boy again in the hiccuping blue lights of the projector. He catches my eye and pretends to drown, arms flailing dramatically. I smirk. He grins. A piece of ‘kelp’ twists around my neck and I mimic his panicked death scene. He giggles. I smile. We’re friends, and that’s cool.

He disappears when my friends materialize out of the green darkness of the corner. Andrew throws the art in my face and for a minute I don’t know what I ‘m experiencing, but it makes me react, so I guess it’s art.

We stand at the drinking tables for a while, drawing things. Our smiley-face wristbands, obnoxiously yellow, advertise our youth. We stand out in sobriety. Art exhibits always make someone feel different. We like it. The difference, that is, even though the tall, elegant women make drinking look like an expensive accessory. I see one woman strolling slowly through the crowd with a highball in hand and I envy her. Not for the drink, but for the cool sureness on a face that stands an inch above everyone else. I watch her move, lithe, graceful despite the spikes on her heels and it occurs to me that half the ‘art’ in the gallery is talking about the rest of it.

|art doesn’t stand still|

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