Smörgåsbord / by Christina Osheim

(I will try to curate the photos better-- too tired now)

 

Oh man. What to write!!! Cheap photo equipment being the highlight of yesterday? Pffft. Small potatoes at the awesomeness that followed. Fast forward a bunch.

Today, Tuesday, I'm standing in line to see a show at the Hirshhorn in DC. Leaving the metro I stopped and got a large americano and was onsite before tickets became available.  But the wait is longer than I expected. A battle is ensuing: my bladder vs my art loving brain. So far the brain is winning and i am first in line for the next wave of tickets. So crunch time: ready set DO NOT go!!!

Yesterday was fantastic. Waiting for my friend I wandered through the Hirshhorn sculpture garden and had an amazing time interacting with the art. I began to weave my own stories around them. (Fyi, 12:30 ticket obtained, potential crisis averted)

My friend found me there and we planned out the hour or so we had until her next appt. aka what's close? NGA IT IS! Walking there we pass their sculpture park and see an outdoor ice skating rink. First, what? Are we in London? Second, but flowers are starting to bloom... (oh wait, it really is February and winter). 

We dare to inquire the cost and it is affordable! Of course at this point there is a lady on the ice doing fancy spins and not just attempting to take her hands off the rail. We went and had a ball! I remember ice skating being so fun and easy. Not so small bear. I dared to be adventurous and skate without easy reach of the wall. This derring do was rewarded with two spills, me laughing like a hyena, a bruised knee (not ego, that remained unmarred). Worth every penny and bruise! 

I ventured on to the American art museum. It was fabulous! Incredible Noguchi and Gene Davis shows. Already a Noguchi lover I fell hard for Davis and loved having the room mainly to myself and composing visual symphonies.

The permanent collection at the AAM is great. With it not being too crowded i was able to take myself on an adventure through it. I spent a good 20-30 minutes in Hockneys snails space and watched "a face in the crowd" twice and really enjoyed it all. Many know that last year was a rough but necessary one for me and so much of this unexpected trip has been a reawakening of the joy and love i have for the arts and as an artist. And all of that/this makes the scariness of pursuing a career in the arts and uncertainties worth it. I am reminded why I am me.

So cathartic art experience, check, and I was off to see the Renwick for the first time since it closed for renovation! The craft person in me adores this museum. Even if i don't always like all of the work the snob in me says "take that art < craft people, we have museums too" (insert in a nanny nanny poo poo face/tone of voice here). What was most interesting about the show "connections" was that it was more powerful and effective when viewed through a doorway. You couldn't see the mechanisms that made it possible. The curtain of oz was still drawn. I really did enjoy the show though. And even cooler, I made a friend in the gift shop. Art nerds see like in other art nerds. So awesome conversation, contact info- I plan to keep up the dialogue- and a few books later the DC museum art world had given me an awesome double high five. 

I hied my way back to my friends house and we gossiped, worked on a puzzle, ate girl scout cookies, and had pup playtime. 

If I have ever said I hate Mondays I am taking it back.

Now it is (still) Tuesday, im still sitting out in the sculpture park ready to enter into the land of infinity mirrors in t-45 and still have 12.25 hours left until the end of today. Score! 

[Intermezzo]

 

[Act II]

Not cursing becomes a challenge in creativity. I mentioned 12 hours to go...creativity... you're here, right? helloooooo...... *echoes back from the canyon ad infinitum* 

Time to quote Tin Tin: Thundering tycoons, billions of blistering blue barnacles, miserable earthworms it has been one sensational day! 

I get inside the show, not certain what to expect. Afraid that all of the waiting and build up it will be a pfffffft experience. It is not. The art is all about repetition and the humor and fear in it. Her titles were amazing. I'm trying to pick my favorite and having trouble. So much of it is about being pulled into an almost hypnotic trance by the repetition. You're not solely seeing something you are becoming part of it, woven into the web of eternity.

The funny thing is that it almost became a farce in a way -- a show within a show or a show in which you are both a viewer and participant. Good lord, that confuses me just typing it!  Meaning: to get the tickets to the show there was a line. leading into a trailer with a line that snakes inside the trailer. Then the line from the trailer moves to a line inside the door of the Hirshhorn. Finally, 2 hours later you have a ticket that you should arrive 30-45 ahead that will be valid in 1.5 hours. WHAAAAAT?!?!?!? The same was true waiting for access to the show with your golden ticket. Queue A becomes Queue B which then transfers to Queue C's location and then gets flipped with Queue X until finally landing you in Queue IDK outside of the the first room of the show. I am surprised we were not given diplomas.

I start wandering in how I normally do just looking and going exactly where other people aren't. I am the person tour guides hate, lingering as far behind as possible, apparently ignoring everything that is being said, although I am listening. Usually.

I start to get into the art. I knock on the door, it answers, I look and say are you a X...? Please say yes, please say yes!!! and indeed it is! Huzzah! Step one into having my experience.

I think viewing art is so much like making it. You have a conversation or a relationship. Both of you want to get to the home plate it's just a matter of how you get there. Or if you get there. Perhaps I rushed too quickly into second and had a nasty slide and damaged the base a bit.  Or perhaps you (the art) decide clear sailing and lift the rain clouds threatening so it tagging home base is easy. 

I start to look and wonder and notice and stop paying attention to those around me. I look up and see everyone else in a line waiting to get into a room. The line is identical to that of the queue(s) I mentioned earlier. And it is standing next to a piece that is looking pretty darn similar to what I am seeing. WTF?!?!? Is this the point? A joke on me? WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! It was that moment of life imitating art to the nth degree. I am pretty sure I snorted when my little brain connected those dots. My other thought was "Miserable Earthworms and macrocephalic baboons! I will not be joining your ranks. Aka I didn't want to stand in line and was kind of pissed at the possibility that I may be forced to in order to see this show I waited almost 4 hours to enter. 

I start watching the lines. Watching the people move through space. Noticing things. There is a line almost to the door of people waiting to see the closed off "hot" commodity. To get there I must be in this line. If I am in this line how do I interact with the show? What is the art? Is the line the art? What am I paying attention to? Did I get that text or email I was expecting?  What does CNN have to say? Do my facebook friends like my status update? Can I win 3 games of solitaire in a row? Is the guy ifront of me checking me out or is there spinach in my teeth? Talking about the embarrassing time you farted during the job interview and laughing?. For all of those standing in line, few were looking at the work visible. It was as If I had a whole gallery to myself, though it was full of people. So I reveled in it. The work and I began the female version of a bromance. Pussy Pals? 

The line shortens, I figure the new crowd will soon be teeming in and decide to get the wait over with. In line I notice a new line for a new experience. You put your face into a window and your mind is blown. Lights, cameras, action! One by one museum patrons must stand in a long line for this revelatory life changing moment. How best to experience this lightbulb of a moment? Easy, peasy, through the lens of my handy dandy smart phone. It was soooooooooo Rotten sand-hoppers with a side order Squawking popinjay! Or the messed up art world version of alternate facts. I was stymied and fascinated. 

The lady behind me began to complain about the wait. I shared these thoughts with her and that I was finding amusement in it. She had noticed my photography and curiousity and stated "so you're in it for the social aspect." I replied "No. I wish I were alone. I wish I could have or take as much time as I need to have an interaction with the work. I cannot. This is how it is set up, so I am choosing to enjoy it. Make it something else. Make it mine. Find humor in the bits that make me want to vomit or punch someone." I may have left that last part out.

We finally make it to the big first reveal. It is an enclosed experience that is timed. 20 seconds. I was nice and got the museum employee to allow just me and this lady in together. But really, the ideal on the museum end would have been turning it into a can or sardines. It was cool. But not worth the wait. My friend left in a huff and I thought screw this I am not waiting in line. So I didn't. I kept on talking to the work sans queue lines and the work spoke back. It was fun. I had art catharsis #2. My phone had died, I didn't care. I drew pictures of the work I liked, wrote down titles, saw with my senses. I finished up sitting in the Catastrphe Room, we were given polka dot stickers to stick anywhere and everywhere, drawing those around me and watching the ebb and flow of patrons mimic the ebb and flow of colored dots in a furnished room canvas of white. I don't know what I missed, but I did not miss it.  It was fantastic. Time to head back south and get dirty. 

 Heading home I said hi to Lassie squared. Lassie was sad I was leaving and cried all the way back to cville. I arrived home to find my new favorite book in the mail and will leave you with a poem from that. 

Epitaph

I lived in those times. For a thousand years
I have been dead. Not fallen, but hunted;
When all human decency was imprisoned,
I was free amongst the masked slaves.

I lived in those times, yet I was free.
I watched the river, the earth, the sky,
Turning around me, keeping their balance,
The seasons provided their birds and their honey.

You who live, what have you made of your luck?
Do you regret the time when I struggled?
Have you cultivated for the common harvest?
Have you enriched the town I lived in?

Living men, think nothing of me. I am dead.
Nothing survives of my spirit or my body. 

                                        Robert Desnos