Sifting through my media file, I came across a bunch of photos from a trip we took to Phoenix in mid-March, pre-COVID-19 lockdown.
Remember that time? Gosh it was nice.
I totally meant to tell you about this trip, hence why the photos were in my media file. Specifically, I meant to tell you about SMOCA.
Say it as a word: smoke-uh. (Now you sound like a native.)
SMOCA is the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. If you ever find yourself in Scottsdale — and if our artists and museums survive COVID-19 — it’s worth a visit. Admission is only $10, though if you wind up there on a Thursday, it’s free!
The museum isn’t large but as Son put it, small museums seem to put more thought into selecting their pieces. He may have something there, as I spent a good amount of time with each and every item I saw.
Of course, some were real attention hogs…
It may not look like much, but I found it rather hypnotic. The broom swept back and forth through the water in the dish, giving an audio quality to the piece as well as visual. You heard the gentle swishing of the broom, also the creaking of the pulley moving back and forth.
Like I said, very hypnotic. I’m not entirely sure what the point was, but it was cool.
Truthfully, I don’t need art to have a point. It’s enough for me that it exists. Someone had an idea and they ran with it.
As I like to say: “Yay, you made something! Show me more!”
Here’s some more:
Another exhibit SMOCA had was, Unapologetic: All Women All Year.
This piece is called, “Converging Territories #9” by Lalla Essaydi.
Its info card read,
“The artist uses calligraphy – a sacred Islamic art forbidden to women – and applies it over the body, clothing, and room with henna, an adornment worn and applied only by women. Merging the male tradition of calligraphy with the female art of henna, Essaydi challenges the gender boundaries of Arab culture, giving the women in her portraits a voice in a space of silence.”
And now you know why I was able to spend so much time with every piece. You just can’t walk away from something like that.
Obviously, Art can have a point. A really really IMPORTANT point.
Other times, it can just be for the sake of creating something.
From the same exhibit, a piece from Yoko Ono:
The first image is called “Mend Piece for John,” created in 1968. Made from: plastic bag, box, tube of glue, ribbon, paper. Unfortunately I did not get a good shot of the smaller piece of paper. It had instructions on what John was supposed to do with the items. I seem to recall at one point he was to take a hammer and smash something, but I could be wrong.
The other piece of paper — that part I took a close up. If you click on the image, you can see it better. Here’s what it says:
A poem in three stanzas dedicated to John, by Yoko Ono, London winter ’67.
1st Stanza (super tiny print) to be read under a magnifying glass
2nd Stanza (even tinier print) to be read under a microscope
3rd Stanza (yet even tinier print) to be blown up photographically, or by whatever method you choose, until it becomes readable
Now, I don’t know what your views are of Yoko. Maybe you’re one of those Beatle Fans Of A Certain Age who love to hate on her.
No denying it, she is certainly… shall we say… unique?
But just imagine for a moment having someone in your life willing to create something just for you. A fun thing that gives you a task to complete, or a poem with a list of instructions on how to read it. Wouldn’t that be something?
And can’t you just picture John doing it? I mean, you’d have to be a real asshole not to. Right?
And let’s allow that to be our takeaway here. In truth, we do have people who create things for us. They’re called Artists. They paint and sculpt and dance; they sing and act and write.
And frankly, we’d have to be real assholes not to appreciate that.
So if there are artists whose work you particularly appreciate, you could buy one of their pieces (most have websites) or join their Patreon if they have one (just do a search).
If there are museums you love to visit or hope to visit one day, you could donate something to help them stay afloat during this time. (Again, look for their website. Click here for SMOCA.)
If nothing else, you’ll feel like less of an asshole, and that should count for a lot.