Visual art objects and performances speak in their own terms, bringing something of the context of their creation into the context of their viewers. In doing so they mix up categories, giving us fresh ways to understand our circumstances. I have always gravitated to visual arts because I seek to comprehend relationships both large and small, both political and personal and artworks tell us so much. Learning from art expands my world. In my pursuit I have roles as Assistant Professor at Drake University, KFMG radio host for "Artists on Art," and world traveller. I enjoy each opportunity to meet with local and international artists who form a nebulous and always changing network, located most frequently under the radar of the Mega-Art-World of high finance. The artists I meet are discerning, invested and concerned about the current state of affairs. Their works improve the quality of discourse in the world. I am fortunate to have a path that allows me to meet such thoughtful people and to participate in disseminating their work.
This is not separate from my family life. My understanding of visual culture and the knowledge it gives me enters into it and is in turn informed by my family.
Together they help me determine my values and priorities among which the most important are empathy and activism.
Since returning from Ferguson I have been busy (obsessed!) with getting a short video of the people I met and their thoughts. One of the main things I felt while I was in Missouri was how each person had an intense reason for participating in the events and that all the reasons were individual, but that everyone wanted to welcome different viewpoints. And everyone shared a desire for these events to result in attention that would help build a better Ferguson, and improve conditions for disenfranchised people across the nation. No one was waiting for someone else to begin the process: everyone I met was already contributing and rebuilding, whether it was through raising awareness of the vote, or helping with free food, or supporting store owners, to name just three things happening. The optimism was moving, and I respect it, though my nature is to be much more skeptical.
I have hours of interviews and video footage, but I found that youtube can be only 10 minutes! So I apologize for making the quotes brief and for omitting some altogether in this video.
This is my first video. I did it with iMovie and it is not anywhere near professional quality, quite amateur; I know many of you could do it much better and any comments will be appreciated – but it is a sincere attempt to show the Ferguson I met.
I’d say in viewing it: the media is not the message. I would be pleased if I have conveyed a sense of the amazing energy and range of actions on the street, and of the generosity of spirit in all the people i encountered. If you like it, feel free to share it.
Gagosian Gallery is a contemporary art gallery owned and directed by Larry Gagosian. There are currently eleven gallery spaces: three in New York; two in London; one in each of Beverly Hills, Rome, Athens, Paris, Geneva and Hong Kong.
Oil on linen
89 x 85 inches (226.1 x 215.9 cm
“Men in the Cities – Men Trapped in Ice”
Charcoal and graphite on paper
60 x 40 inches/152.4 x 101.6 cm, each panel
Collection Mera and Donald Rebell