Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Collecting Art


Well seeing as how pretty much all the galleries in town have shut down for the festive season (bah humbug, to you too, thanks). It appears that I am going to have to write about more ephemeral topics. Seeing as how I am selling my record collection now, it occurred to me, what about foaming at the mouth as to why you should collect Art in the first place? I think this is a very good topic for a guy with a gallery to write about.

Easy and short answer: Because it is pretty and you need something above the couch.

Tougher and longer answer: Things that make you think are good. Having a brain that is equivalent in size and color to that hunk of stuff stuck to the wheel well of your car is not good. Art should make you think. If it doesn't, I'm not certain I would be comfortable calling it art. Maybe we should just call the stuff that doesn't make you think, sitcom re-runs.

Once you got the thoughts flowing like Rwandan refugees to Zaire in 1994, then comes the fun. Because, besides the thoughts, there is always the concept of "pretty." Or for you folk who like big words, aesthetics. Sorta like listening to music and then suddenly breaking out like Fred Astaire (or Ginger Rogers, depending on which way you swing).

Now I'll be the first person to say that some of the stuff I like (and that makes me think) is pretty damn ugly. But, just because I think that it is ugly shouldn't stop you from thinking whatever the hell you want to think. And if you want to think that that piece by Adad Hannah or Richard Purdy is the most glorious thing you have ever seen since that sunrise on the Bay of Fundy with Judy after having spent the night (oops, getting off the topic there, sorry) that's fine. But you better be able to defend yourself, 'cuz with Art (notice the capital "A") there ain't no such thing as "well, it's the only thing on now, damn I wish I had cable."

Now this is where it gets cool. Right now, I think that there are 38 movies playing in English here in town, then add in the 75 French films and you get a total of 113 films. And that's only if you're counting the French versions and the English versions as two separate films (and sometime they actually are!) Each of those movies is going to set you back at least $6 and perhaps as much as $12 before parking and popcorn. Well, my friend, there are over 200 places to go see Art here in town. All of them ('cept of course this one and this one) are completely free, and those bastions of reactionary self-referential bravado also cough up their permanent collections for free in order to keep the mandarins off their pant cuffs by making them believe that they truly are offering "culture" to the masses.

Now, if you really really like a movie, you're likely to go buy the video ($20) after having seen it in a theater, and then because the technology is always changing - man, why can't they wait until I figure out how to program the new remote before I have to go out and get the next one? You end up buying the Super Enhanced DVD with 17 extra minutes of really bad stuff that we didn't want you to see the first time around ($30). The total spent so far is $60, not including parking or popcorn.

Now if you, instead of going to see the movie, then buying the video, and then buying the super-duper extra bells and whistles DVD (I also forgot to mention the hardware that you need in order to see all of this) you go to an Art Gallery (any gallery) you've automatically saved yourself at least $60 (not including parking and popcorn). If you don't see the movie in the first place, then you won't be thinking that it would be nice to see it again on the couch at home, if you're not watching it on the couch at home, then you won't be wondering about those missing 17 minutes that they didn't want you to see in the first place. Got it? Good.

Do this twice, and you got enough money to buy Art. Stick it on the wall in front of the couch (go ahead, be different) and instead of watching re-runs of sitcoms after the extra-special limited edition DVD with 18 minutes of stuff they didn't want you to see the first time is over, you'll be thinking.

And as we know, thinking is good.

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