The other day I took the afternoon off and went on an expedition with friends for Tara’s birthday. We went to the Museum of Craft and Design first – two exhibitions, one of large pieces that kind of explored different materials, and the other of ceramic sculptures by Wanxin Zhang. I liked both exhibits. In the first I especially felt happy looking at the giant mat of tangled pink thread by Mi-Kyoung Lee. It was so viscerally soft and fluffy and I thought about how you’d make it and the skill to spread it evenly and get an interesting texture. I could practically feel the process in my hands. The coral-like ceramic extrusions with light behind them were also pleasing – going back and forth and seeing how they changed depending on perspective.
The ceramic sculptures were great. Tara remarked that she doesn’t usually like representations of women made by male artists but these were great. I agreed – he not only avoided the usual annoyances but had something interesting to say in the sculptures. The female figures were profound. Here’s one called Mulan (Pussy Hat II),
I liked studying the textures of the ceramic & how they were finished in some places and then became rough and slabby and thumbed-looking.
The museum curator or docent giving us a tour mentioned that the sculptor often creates people in this pose with their hands somewhat held away form the body but at their sides and that it is homage to the Tank Man of Tiananmen Square as he carried his grocery bags. Once she pointed that out I really saw and felt it! Wow.
We had ice cream, then went to the Minnesota Street Project galleries which are spacious & beautiful. They were setting up a very fancy looking catered dinner in the central space and as we rolled around to all the galleries (keeping in mind we were hot, disheveled, and all 4 in powerchairs and I had my boots off, attractive pedicure in the breeze… perhaps a bit disreputable) we realized that the fancy dinner was for Christie’s which had some sort of special event coming up with the world’s fucking fanciest paintings, which I admired (Renoir, Monet, other fancypants stuff) Also caught a whole gallery of amazing photos by Louis Stettner and a Ferlinghetti exhibit which were mostly trash (but, fine, homage to the beats and hippies…. ok) The only good Ferlinghetti painting was 20K but… weirdly i could have more or less afforded some of the Stettner photos. Then I thought about, if I were going to buy something amazing yet might possibly be able to “afford” it, what would it be? (Answer: Something by Francesca Woodman and/or Sandow Birk.) Fortunately our cyborg bohemianism was welcomed by the fancypants gallery people and I did not (despite great temptation) steal any of the flower arrangements from the catering carts.
It was so lovely spending the day with friends despite that we all nearly died of heatstroke and the bad pavements of the Dogpatch.