Sunday, January 19, 2014

"There's a Dark Side to Everything, Even Art"

I well remember the first time I came upon the SBS-268 Building.  The year was, if I'm not mistaken, 2006 (or possibly 2007, but I think 2006), and I had been out taking pictures - making use of the last light of a late June day - when I noticed a building that seemed a little different from its neighbors.  I stopped, put my camera down, and was pondering the building in a contemplative way, when a group of people walked by, and one of them said something to the effect of "Oh - there's that building that was on TV"....

That's not necessarily of much meaning, since a lot of what ends up on TV is basically just garbage, but still, it seemed to indicate a higher probability of *something* interesting being inside the building, so I crossed the street and took a closer look.  Noting that (among other things) there were art galleries in the building, I decided to walk in and have a look at the building.  My intent was mainly to see the inside of the building, with the art galleries providing an excuse to be wandering around inside, but after a couple of friendly artists in different galleries invited me in to see their exhibitions, I unwittingly took my first step into a... habit/hobby/tendency/something of visiting art galleries to see exhibitions.

The thing is - I've always spent my time taking pictures and never made the effort and/ or found the time to have a look at other people's art.  But once I started, I quickly realized that I quite enjoyed looking at art exhibitions, and have regularly visited several art galleries every week ever since then.  Initially, I noticed that I enjoyed seeing any kind of art exhibition save photography, with the reason for that exception being that I couldn't look at photographic exhibitions without a range of competitive/critical thoughts/feelings arising.  Paintings, on the other hand, were something I don't (and basically can't) do myself, so I just enjoyed looking at everything in a non-critical way.

That ignorance-is-bliss mode lasted for quite a while - around... five years I think it was.  Since then, gradually, the habit of experiencing several art exhibitions every week for several years has provided somewhat of an education, and increasingly, particularly lately, a critical eye.  And so, while I still enjoy seeing art exhibitions every week, it's not as fun as it used to be, because I've seen/experienced too much and the years of innocence are (almost completely) gone.

Sometimes I think I could become an art critic, but I'm not *that* knowledgeable and I decided at the outset that I would not criticize people's art.  I figured "If someone has attempted to make something beautiful, it's not for me to criticize the result", which I'm holding to, although I now understand that some of the things in art exhibitions are not the result of someone trying to make something beautiful, but are put there for other reasons, but let's not go there.  Suffice it to say that there's a dark side to everything - including the art world.


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