Matt and I spent the weekend with a bunch of cool new friends at Nehalem Bay State Park in Manzanita on the Oregon Coast. As soggy as it was, we loved being by the ocean again. The beaches around there are quite beautiful. And for a coastal state park, Nehalem is pretty damn cool. About 30 of us shared yurts which in just about the most luxurious camping experience I’ve ever had. The yurts were large, well-sealed mini-cabins that slep 5 comfortably on a bunk bed and a futon. The skylight brought brightness into the room, despite the cloudy skies. Plus each yurt has heat, electric (yes you can plug in your cell phone and even get reception for the most part, but I would recommend just turning the darn thing off), a small deck with picnic table and parking for two cars. Call this super-deluxe, cush, car camping. Our group also rented out the meeting hall for just a few more dollars which included a full sink, tables and chairs inside and out (for non-rainy days), so we had a nice gathering place out of the rain. From camp, we walked out to the beach, up and through dramatic sandy dunes. It is gorgeous beach there, dramatic yet peaceful. Apparently this part of the coast is pretty unpredictable and they have plenty of signage for emergency tsunami action. Yes, tsunami in Oregon, USA. Who knew? Manzanita, is about 5 minutes away from Nehalem and offers quaint coffee shops, galleries and markets. Like I said, this is cush, almost like non-camping, camping. But it’s fun and it is the ocean so you just can’t beat it.
A few weeks ago at my birthday cocktails, a few of us got into an interesting (some might say heated) discussion about art and the general question about whether art needs an audience. I’ll admit that I’m on the side that says that yes, art is made for an audience, even if the audience is only the art maker themselves. I do believe that art is made for some kind of viewing and not just purely for expression. Otherwise what’s the point of outputting that expression into some visual or tangible form, rather than just expressing away in our heads. Okay I see some points there that can be taken on, but I offer this in part to ruminate about why it is just so juicy and interesting to discuss art after we’ve seen it, experienced it. Whether it’s dance or television or a painting – there’s something inside us that wants to rush out the door and compare notes with our neighbor. Often it’s just a re-hashing or inquiry about what we just saw. But other times it does become a dynamic dialogue not only about the work, but about some larger issue either directly-related or inspired by what’s presented. For example I went to an interesting, lively debrief for Kitchen Sink PDX’s recent Step into my office art event. Maybe it’s not a fair example because this event was all about audience interaction (or was it?). There were certainly different levels of how artists expected visitors to engage with their work. And there was also a long discussion about the other major premise for the event – that of collaboration and the nature of how to collaborate. And of course a little tense talk about money and stuff. All in all, though, it was a good dialogue about the work. Well who knows if any of this makes sense. I’m just spitting stuff that’s been on my mind. Yo.
Some links to explore ArtLex is a kind of nutty sprawling index of all kinds of art terms. Click on “Art” for some relevant fodder. I’m a sucker for about.com so here’s a link to some easy articles touching on the subject art appreciation.
There’s couple of art events that I’m looking forward to this week. I’m volunteering at Kitchen Sink PDX’s Step Into My Office. It’s an art show that’s being installed in an office space with all kinds of crazy cool art projects including an email performance piece; a wild green installation including lots of botanical life and even a waterfall; id badges for all visitors; and several video installations. And that’s just the tip of the cubicle iceberg. It opens at First Thursday in the Pearl.
The other event is a new completed program by Minh Tran & Company, Forgotten Memories. The piece reflects on the Khmer Rouge genocide, creating a powerful and interactive dance performance experience at the Wonder Ballroom. I had the lucky opportunity to see a recent rehearsal and it’s looking to be a very intense and beautiful work. The dance company also collaborated with a visual artist, a composer and a filmmaker. Performances are Friday and Saturday night.