Monday, November 10, 2008


A while back, my sister Veronique, a friend, and I were sitting outside of a quaint coffee shop on a beautiful day, admiring the leaves and sipping coffee. Down the street, we heard a sing-song voice approaching. As we listened, we realized the beautiful noise was coming from an African-American homeless woman pushing a cart. She had a wonderful voice, and the notes she was hitting made the day seem even more beautiful.

When we listened closer, she was speaking the most vulgar, racially-fired words I have ever heard. I can't even write them here. She walked closer and closer to the cafe, always keeping her voice in a somewhat singing manner. We became more and more uncomfortable. Finally, she seemed to be walking very close to where we were, and so we decided to move. She turned the corner and walked on with her cart, always singing the same vulgar profanities.
I looked over to Veronique, somewhat a little shaken up. "You know, in some places, that could easily have been some sort of performance piece to see how people react when they are uncomfortable".
hmm. We thought it over. Ok, this woman was obviously not mentally together. But what if she had been? what if the whole ordeal had been a sort of social-study piece of performance art? Would it be so shocking to think this, with a world where museums are standing in line to purchase canvasses covered in feces or aborted baby casts?
It stirred quite a conversation, which made things even more controversial. Here we were, the three of us, discussing with ample ideas, what had taken place. All the gears were working. In that small interaction, we had all been lured by the woman's beautiful voice. Then we were shocked by what she was saying. Then we were uncomfortable. Then we were intrigued. I can say that this series of feelings happen often to me in front of some of my favorite works of art. However, I would say that sometimes the uncomfortable feeling I get from the work I am viewing is less a response to a shock, and more to an awe.
Still. I can't drop it. Many people think in order to have beauty in the world, you must have ugliness. In order to show true light, you must have darkness.

I heard a pastor once say that most artists did not like Thomas Kincade.Why is he a painter of light? I see absolutely NO reason WHATSOEVER that his images have any true light. Why? Perhaps it does come to the fact that he has no darkness.
And honestly, when I look at some of his work, and I am uninspired. There is nothing thought-provoking. Everything is candy-sweet.
On the other hand, would I say that interaction with the homeless woman was art? No, probably not. But I WOULD rather spend my time thinking about what the interaction with her made me feel than sit in front of a Disney print.
Sorry, Mr. Kinkade.


shopsmart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shopsmart said...

...........mute swan