The recent question of how a piano ended up on a Miami sandbar seemed like another whimsical prank by some rascal. It was:
The image of the piano on the sandbar, which most people first saw as a photograph that was taken by Suzanne Beard, isn’t lessened by knowing its origins. The teens responsible are pleased by the response the prank as art (or art as prank) has received, but the simple truth is that their objective was accomplished in the doing rather than the response. They filmed what they did as part of an admission portfolio for art school.
This year’s Oscar front-runner for Best Documentary Feature is a little movie called “Exit Through the Gift Shop.” It is a documentary about, what else, the creation of art. Specifically, art created by event and shock minded artists like Banksy, Shepard Fairey and Mr. Brainwash. Throughout the film, the creation of art is celebrated over the art that is created. In doing so, the documentary itself has become a work of art. Its Oscar nomination helps validate it as a solid documentary, but the documentary itself turns a critical eye inward when Steve Lazarides states “I think the joke is on… I don’t know who the joke is on, really. I don’t even know if there is a joke.”
Is a joke even necessary? Perhaps the joke is that there is no joke.
Celebrating the act of creation is nothing new. The mandalas created by Tibetan monks are a prime example of something that focuses more on the act of creating than what it is being created. That shouldn’t detract from the fragile and fleeting beauty that is the mandala, just as knowing that two teens stuck a piano on a sandbar to try and get into college detracts from the beauty of a lonely instrument covered in seagulls stranded in the ocean.
With the immediacy that comes with living in a give-me-now society, the event of art will become more of a focus than the preservation of art. The event can be preserved through a myriad of mediums – digital copies, film, sound tape. Making that art powerful enough to be preserved in our memories should be the true goal of the artist.
I haven’t babbled on in a long time. It feels good to idly ponder.
Or something like that.