|Mirror House overlooking the Coachella Valley near sunset|
One of the things you can count on here in the Coachella Valley is some event. I would be the first to admit that before I started coming here and now living here a year and a half, I am stunned by how much, how many events, some world class, that there are here.
Growing up in Oregon and then spending the past 50 years in the San Gabriel Valley, the desert has always been, well, desert! Dead!!!
I have been so distracted first by moving here and digging myself out of the accumulation of "stuff" I collected over the years, then purchasing a condo and spending two months remodeling it and then moving a mountain of "stuff" from one condo to another, I don't hit these events ... or not many.
This year the Coachella Valley was host to Desert X, a real world outdoor artistic event with artists from around the world transforming the desert and, at least for me, how we see it. Of the 15 sites, I only really spent time at one and that was just before a trip and after my divorce. I was distracted.
Here are the goals of this event taken from their web site:
THE COACHELLA VALLEY AND ITS DESERT LANDSCAPE WILL BECOME THE CANVAS FOR A CURATED EXHIBITION OF SITE-SPECIFIC WORK BY ESTABLISHED AND EMERGING ARTISTS, WHOSE PROJECTS WILL AMPLIFY AND ARTICULATE GLOBAL AND LOCAL ISSUES THAT MAY RANGE FROM CLIMATE CHANGE TO STARRY SKIES, FROM TRIBAL CULTURE AND IMMIGRATION TO TOURISM, GAMING, AND GOLF. THE ARTWORKS, IN VARIOUS INDOOR AND OUTDOOR LOCATIONS, WILL BE AVAILABLE FREE AND WILL OFFER VISITORS A WAY TO SEE THE VALLEY AND REFLECT ON SERIOUS AND PLAYFUL ISSUES THROUGH THE LENS OF THE PARTICIPATING ARTISTS' CREATIVITY AND WORK.
|Alan in front of Mirror House, the valley behind|
Mirror House by Doug Aitken is unlike anything I have ever seen ... well, maybe the circus or county fair fun house hall of mirrors. Aitken took a house, one of those being built high up in the mountains from a new, in process development, (higher altitude + higher prices) and covered every inch of it with mirrors. It is both thrilling to see outside and inside, very disorienting, just like the funhouse, Hall of Mirrors were went through as kids. However, the views are stunning and you soon learn to like the outside of the house (above) as while the house is quite large, it's mirrors seem to make it disappear making the house less obtrusive.
Is this art? Art is defined as "the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power."
There is no doubt that Mirror House was being appreciated for its beauty and emotional power. I think its secret was how it magnified the beauty of the landscape around it. It certainly then could be considered art.
|Where is inside ... where is out. Mirrors on the left and above reflect the world viewed from the right!|
It could be very disorienting at times just like a County Fair funhouse. Yet it made all of us look more carefully at each room, the floor, even the ceilings that were pieced with open sky that reflected brightly on those of us inside. In fact, there was no room that didn't let the outside in making you feel like you were floating in the landscape.
|The house nearly dissolves|
into the landscape.
To me, this one example represented a challenge ... to what is art, is creating something like this artistic? When we put a brush to paper, canvas or some other object, are we then creating art? Is there a limit to art? It is often said that art, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and a visit to any museum is certainly a testament to that saying. How many of us tend to gravitate to the rooms, the collections that we favor, ignoring the rest? It is events like this, or the yearly La Quinta Art Festival or even Spectrum that brings things that we may not be familiar with yet exposes us, encourages us to stretch our artistic imaginations and see "new" art.
Gauging from the number of people I saw at the house on a nothing day in the late afternoon I would say it was a success. Maybe more people visited here then at a normal museum's hyped up special exhibition. And trust me, it was not easy to find ... actually to get to. You could see it up on the hill but, getting there was something else. I wandered for a good half hour and was about to go home when I found a road and arrowed sign pointing us in the right direction.
I think there is a desire for art, and there always has been; from the painting in caves 40,000 + years ago to now. What is even more amazing is the number of younger people that were there considering that many of them didn't have much or any art in school, those programs were the first to be cut years ago. Even though studies have shown that art and music improve learning and cognitive skills, we are back to the litany of readin', writin' and 'rithmetic, so very 1820's German as they were gearing up for the Industrial Revolution inherited from England, almost 200 years ago.
I don't know ... could it be that the appreciation of art, worldwide art would make us all begin, at long last, to appreciate each other? To see who we are, the differences of course but more the similarities? I think so. I never cared much for Chinese art until I started visiting China. Suddenly, being there, meeting people and seeing how they lived made it all, finally for me, accessible. It was this kind of revelation that makes me wonder, in this time of turmoil and change, something we can never stop, would learning to appreciate each others vision, finally help us to be able to accept and understand each other, a goal that so far has alluded us? It certainly is something to think about.
|The time for smoke and mirrors must be replaced by compassion and vision ... something in short supply these days.|
Thank you for reading my blog. I invite you to take the time to read earlier blogs where the emphasis here is to explore the ways art and design affects our daily lives ... and always has. I share with you what inspires me with the hope that it will inspire you as well. Comments are always welcomed! Be sure to check my re-opened ETSY store ... KrugsStudio.etsy.com