June 28, 2004

ART is More Important than the Sovereignty of Iraq

Yes, there are some things more important than the turn over of Sovereignty to Iraq two days early. Namely, my art and ART are more important. If we had all read contemporary literature carefully, listened to contemporary music, and carefully viewed contemporary visual arts after 9/11/2001, I know we would not be fighting this war in Iraq. I I’m exhausted by this war that isn’t a war, that everyone says we have to win, even though it isn’t “The War on Terrorism” a civilized nation should be fighting. Something is wrong with the nation’s psyche when everyone including Madalyn Albright is down playing the fact that Mr. Bush took us into a war that is the wrong war on terrorism!!!. This is not a war between conflicting civilizations, nor between the civilized, Christian West, and the Islamic "barbaric"(not my word) Middle East. It is between rival religious practices; that is Fundamentalist Christian and Fundamentalist Muslim factions of two of the worlds great religions for control of the worlds petroleum and populations. These fundamentalist factions are only a portion of the total population of both cultures. Additionally, both cultures must be classified as civilized.

If we wish to retain the classification, “civilized,” in the annals of future history, we must try to understand the Muslim world, and more importantly, we must make the greatest effort to understand our own culture, including our various religious practices, and the behaviors that grow out of these.

The Observatorium


In October of 1997, at the age of 77, I traveled to New York to view an exhibit titled The Observatorium at Art in General gallery in New York City. The exhibit was a presentation of material about the work of artists Geert Van de Camp, Andre Dekker, and Ruud Reufelinsperger in which these Dutch artists used archiving and collecting practices to present their exhibition of materials about their project also titled The Observatorium. The artists stated that The Observatorium “provides a 24-hour retreat in solitude, within the paradox of private space as a public artwork.”*1 The space was an architectural setting based on modular cubes that were designed to be taken apart and moved. The artists structured The Observatorium at the conjunction of public art used privately by individuals to create text about their experience, which was also to be observed by other persons attending an exhibit about The Observatorium. This structure implicated the intent of its creators to generate a body of art discourse and social discourse about that conjunction. Additionally, the display of the private text in the gallery space and in books, as well as the recording of the individual’s spoken discourse about his or her experience on video tape, further demonstrated the collaborating artists’ intent to grow various bodies of discourse. These various forms of discourse imply that private persons observing their inner selves can be observed during and after their self contemplation by the art world and normative social science thus subjecting the individuals to surveillance through the gaze of others.

I must interrupt this writing to go to my bridge group here at the BIG NEEDLE retirement home. Actually, I help some of the players rather than play myself, because they don’t remember what they have in their own hands, much less deduce what cards other players are holding. Please stay tuned, dear journal, because I am headed somewhere important with this stuff about The Observatorium, and I’ll continue this later tomorrow, or Wednesday.

*Ranven, Arlene, “New York Story,” In Public Art, Artists, and Audiences Transcend Geography, Sculpture, Vol 17, No 1(1998), Sculpture Magazine on, http://www.sculpture.org/documents/scmag98/raven/sm-raven.htm (Monday, June 28, 2004, 11:16 A.M.)

*1 Geert Van de Camp, Andre Decker, Ruud Reutelingsperger, “ Het Observatorivm,” The Observatorium: Collective Reflections
Artists in residence collaborate with Snug Harbor Cultural Center and the Public Art Fund.
Thursday, September 11, 1997 - Saturday, October 25, 1997
Art in General, 4th Floor Gallery, 79 Walker Street, New York, New York 10013

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