Opportunity to Milltown, Milltown to Opportunity
Part of the point and pleasure of this series of exhibitions is engage in sustained looking. I arrived at this exhibition late, with only 20 minutes or so to see the work. The conversation had also run it’s course and appeared to be winding down. I asked the person who was deinstalling to email copies of the statement and two other pages that were included on the wall of the piece. The piece was complicated. It required an effort of reading and decoding. When I received the pdf of the statement text could not be enlarged enough to read without pixilating. In other words, I missed the piece. It was over. There was no way I could, from looking at the photographs I had taken and reading the statement (if I could have read the statement) have had anything but an remote and intellectual experience of the work.
Last night after a long day I sat down with last month’s issue of ARTFORUM. As I flipped through the pages, not really reading anything, I realized how often we approach artwork peripherally and intellectually. If you are not in the room with a piece of visual art it cannot truly reach you. I wanted to write that and see if I believed this statement. When we look at ARTFORUM, see work online, salivate over gorgeous artist books or catalogues we are in a way sustained but not nourished. If you are a student or if you teach, if you don’t live in a location with a profusion of galleries and museums, you seek art in reproductions because you are hungry for it. But I am considering this possibility: If we accept, even subconsciously, that looking at ARTFORUM is engaging in art we miss the real experience of looking at art, which necessarily happens live and in person and with time.
As long as I am not living there I will miss the museums of New York. I miss the option of seeing work at David Zwirner each month. I miss the big exhibitions and the small shows. But I am beginning to think that I should not try to fill the void with anything other than artwork, real artwork, live and in the flesh.
I am sorry I missed the Edgar Smith show.