Have you ever been to a contemporary art museum and thought “why is that even in a museum?” Throughout my life as an artist, I have almost always carried a little grudge about other contemporary art. Contemporary art is not about instant gratification, or instant understanding, it is about accepting that the artist has something important to say, and tuning in to find out what that is.
Last week I had the ganas (the word means more to me in Spanish than it does English) to immerse myself in a state of inquiry about art. I headed to the Henry and the Frye and was lucky enough to attend three artist talks. I went to talks by John Knight, Keller Easterling (via Skype) (both at the Henry) and Cris Bruch (at the Frye).
I felt an incredible sense of gratitude to have had the opportunity to hear these artists speak so passionately about their work. Previous Jean would have been turned off by [some of the] seemingly ambiguous aesthetics of these works and would have entered these talks from a judgmental stance of disbelief. When I made the decision to accept the fact that the artists had something of value to express, I was able to see their perspective in a much more meaningful way. By developing my sense of compassion, I was able to really listen to what the artist was saying- whether I agreed with them or not.
All of these artists were speaking from a very personal place, but used a universal context to communicate their message. They used the beauty of metaphors so that their message can be applicable to a wide set of instances. The works by these artists are well worth investigating. As Rachel Berwick likes to teach, “Suspend disbelief.”