Monday, November 19, 2007
The Shock Of The New
One of the most disturbing gifts I have ever received was a piece of art made as part of a mental patient's therapy and sold at an art fair to support the hospital. The picture was framed with a rusted out license plate holder and bordered by the heads of decapitated babies connected with pipe cleaners. The woman featured in the middle of this nightmare had a turquoise-colored jewel eye and a face made of paper mached newspapers. I'm a fan of outsider art, but this was beyond the pale. My relationship with the gift-giver was already fraught -- I had to laugh upon opening it. I'd gotten her the safe gifts for Christmas -- the fancy soaps and Christmas body lotions that you give to everyone you fear offending. Given what I had received, I wished I'd opted for Freud's finger puppet theater -- complete with a stage, a couch, Sigmund, Anna, and Jung. The French have a term for this -- the poison gift, the thing that says evil things you wish you could.
I had a dream the other night that I was lying in a coffin, snow falling all around. Part of a piece of performance art, I wondered when it would end which is how I feel about most performance art pieces in real time. As much as I love art, I don't love it enough to endure the beginning stages. In the best pieces, you're suffering through someone else's bad dreams. I have enough of those myself that I only want to see the really exquisite ones, the ones that will haunt forever and ever. I have no talent with the visual myself and don't expect to develop it any time soon. So I'm left with my dreams, death-haunted gifts that deliver their poison so slowly I don't even see them as the gifts they are.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door." Harvey Milk
Drinking music suggestion: Diamond Dogs David Bowie
Benedictions and Maledictions