Several things about my tiny jaunt to the MidwestÖ
At the Museum of Contemporary Art, in Chicago, there was a piece Ė a performance art piece Ė that involved two exceedingly ordinary people, a woman and a man, very slowly, very carefully, in very measured movements, making out.
It was embarrassing to watch at first and second and third glance, because of the tiny, miniscule glint of forced sexuality, until I steeled myself, ďItís art, dammit,Ē I thought, and stood still and looked. After a minute, it wasnít really sexual anymore, and there wasnít anymore tenderness, or rhythm and the only thing I could find mildly interesting about the whole ordeal was the actorís ability to move that slowly and hold their poses without stumbling or bumping heads or, horrors, giggling. It wasnít beautiful. And then I just got frustrated, because I didnít understand it, and I hate feeling stupid. Art shouldnít make me feel stupid. But then, thatís me pinning it on the piece, isnít it? And thatís not right, either. Regardless, I kind of feel like the artist was sort of having us onÖ
Iíve come to terms with the fact that just because I donít get that a piece is important doesnít mean it isnít, and just because I donít like it doesnít make it bad or unappealing. Knowing that, remembering that, has allowed me to appreciate the importance of art, and find beauty where I didnít even know where to look before.
Was it art? God, I donít know. Am I supposed to like it or hate it? I donít know that either. I can tell you that I didnít like it, but my reasons seem rather infantile. Mostly, I didnít see the point. I thought art was supposed to inspire thought and insight, or possibly open up new pathways of ideas. There should be a reason itís important, shouldnít there? There should be a reason the MCA reserved a whole room for Dick and Jane over there. Shouldnít there? I mean, beyond wondering if he was ever going to get to second base.
My learned friend Stella would kick my ass if I was speaking these words and she was within earshot. Still, though. Why canít it all just be soup cans and mobiles and Parisians in the rain?
* * *
It is not often that I trust my own mind to find the hard truths.
Sometimes, I get the odd, unsettling feeling about the friends I love so much, who live so far away. Would we love each other so fiercely if we were within coffee distance? Would we survive each otherís quirks, and get over our frustrations?
Then I dismiss the worry and remember that we lived together once, and we continue to count the months and years between visits. When our worlds fall apart, our long-distance bills go up. We may want to throw each other into traffic, but that doesnít mean we wouldnít lay down in it for each other.
Sometimes, the hard truths sound like eccentric Hallmarks. Still, theyíre good to know.
* * *
I wore for the first time, with great apprehension, a strapless top. Whatís more, a third of the back was cut away from it, and it was the most skin Iíve shown in public since I used to run around the yard with no clothes on. It was a risk Iíd take only with the ones I loved. One girlís strapless shirt is anotherís stab at, I donít know, skydiving.
Stella and Joe both assured me that I looked fine. To be precise, they said, ďYou look fine. You look good. For the last time, yes, you look fine, Jesus Christ, donít make me hit you!Ē Then Aric squealed, ďLook at you!Ē and let me do a little twirl. In the end, it was well-received in three rainbow bars, a bathroom I shared with a boy who shrieked, ďWell glory-be, a genuine peephole!Ē and asked me where I hailed from while he peed; and got a hey-aay by the boys in the coat-check line.
Honestly, there are reasons I spend two hours staring at myself in the mirror, and none of them involve attention issues.
* * *
Thatís the name of the colossal, silver reflective bean-shaped piece Iíve wanted a look at since I first learned the thing existed. I suppose itís a sculpture, or possibly a structure; it takes up a lot of space and probably needs a lot of polishing. You can walk around it, and under it, and look up and see curved nothing forever.
Curved nothing forever can be gorgeous. It was gorgeous. It was one of the most, gorgeous, breath-taking creations ever presented by man. Before you die, go to Chicago and spend a lot of time at the silver bean. Then, give me a call and tell me what you thought.
* * *
Honestly, you guys, it was so fun. I laughed with my friends, and had a Chicago dog, and went on a wild road trip out of state for a two-day party in a house the size of a Vegas casino. I had cocktails in the sky, danced a two-step, and sang show tunes with two hundred gay men. I stayed up late and got up early, and saw art that broke my heart, it was so beautiful.
I really ought to do that more often. You too, I think.
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