I’ve been to a slew of gallery crawls and gallery nights, mostly in Chicago, but also in Madison and Florence. The Pittsburgh gallery crawl was different simply because it was a new city whose art scene I have’t explored. And also, it was the first gallery night I’ve attended alone. I thought I could picture the night: me, wandering the cultural district trying to deceiver a tiny map from a brochure and barely making it past the parking garage let alone to a host of galleries. Thankfully, the night turned out quite the opposite. Was it the strobe lights? The crazy interactive video collages? The night air? The giant duckie? Who knows! Either way I had a blast, met a load of crazy people, and would do it again (alone) in a heart beat.
I waited in line for this exhibit for an hour. I never actually made it to the room where the piece was taking place. But somehow, I left feeling like I had a good taste of postmodern art. Or maybe I try to find art in places where it’s not (intended to be). I’m known for thinking broken fence posts are part of sculpture gardens and that missing electrical outlets are accidentally unmarked installations. So I didn’t feel too disappointed to have spent an hour, crammed inside a tiny room with forty people, watching the smoke hiss out from under the door of the exhibit, wondering if we’d ever make it inside. I witnessed tension rise between people after a group cut the line. I met a man who, like me, ventured to the exhibit alone, and who took a moment to write down a note in a notepad he kept crumbled in his pocket. “Just for, you know, story ideas.” And finally, I watched a man get carried out of the exhibit room after experiencing a seizure. I was outta there in a second.
Granular Synthesis: Model 5 and Pol
Kurt Hentschlager and Ulf Langheinrich
Ironically (or not), the next exhibit I visited featured a large screen and four images of a women’s face, twisting and convulsing in repeated, robotic movement. At times both terrible and hilarious, needless to the say, the pieces made me very comfortable. Thankfully, I find uncomfortable art often times the most effective. Better to be disgusted by something than to think it beautiful in every way. Why? Because often beauty doesn’t really challenge how we think. Discomfort does.
For instance, getting a bit uncomfortable and exploring the city alone one evening.