But, despite the art-challenged ignorance that envelops and defines my existence, I appreciate art in my own way. Perhaps this is nothing but yet another version of Justice Potter Stewart's comment "I know it when I see it." Well, that itself is nothing but an iteration of the old adage that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Anyway, I know it when I see the beauty in art! And I did see and experience one unique piece of art--Christo's umbrellas.
I lived in Bakersfield back then, and remember going up to Gorman to look at the umbrellas up, close, and personal. And to stand under it because of the bright and hot sun :) ... I should note that the photo here is not mine, but one I found on Flickr--this too is from Gorman, and exactly how I remember it.
The neatest thing about Christo's umbrellas was that the art was an experience. Because, unlike a painting that might hang in a museum for centuries, Christo's umbrellas were temporary. I liked that Buddhist sand mandala approach of his to remind ourselves of the temporary lease we have on this planet. Like how what we experience now cannot be experienced again ever. It is more than mere "art." A few days later, the umbrellas were dismantled. Gone.
Why this post on Christo? I was getting bored five miles up in the sky--I was flying to Southern California--when I decided to leaf through the in-flight magazine. An interview with Christo caught my attention. It was about his latest project.
Only Christo could have imagined such a project:
“The Floating Piers,” a walkway stretching three kilometers, or nearly two miles, that connects two small islands in Lake Iseo, in Italy’s Lombardy region, to each other and to the mainland.In the interview, Christo talks about how this idea of his had been rejected over the years--nearly forty years--by the governments in Argentina and Japan. Finally, Italy approved this art installation. Christo comments :
Art is in the DNA of the Italian people.Italy has a paragraph devoted to art and culture in their constitution. In the US, we have a paragraph about guns.I don't know if that that comment on the Italian constitution is true. It does not matter to me; I rarely ever understand art and the artistic mind. But, damn, I would love to go and experience the "Floating Piers."