January 29, 2006

Zen-aphobia

We went to an exhibit yesterday called Ashes & Snow out at Santa Monica pier. We'd heard great things about the show and the building itself was a big draw. It's a "nomaidic museum" built out of 156 stacked box cars with tenting to create a big dark box on the inside. So out we went, not ones to miss the hottest exhibit in LA. Of course, we brought Pixie who has been the embodiment of evil this week.

We got inside and found ourselves wrapped in darkness with some trance-like, minor-key Enyaish music wafting through the air. The exhibit consisted of a series of dimly lit photos of humans and animals interacting in unsual ways (an underwater shot of a guy swimming with an elephant, a child sleeping with a cheetah, a warrior dancing with an osprey.. you get the point. The main rule of the exhibit was that in no picture did any of the people have their eyes open or have any expression on their faces. Combined with the darkness and the Big-Brother music, the whole exhibit just screamed for you to get jiggy with the Zen or else. I fell into the "or else" category.

Pixie went berserk as soon as we got inside and wailed through the whole exhibit. I had a hard time with the juxtaposition of the totally peaceful, new age atmosphere with trying to manage my spastic, furious child. In the end, I left the exhibit in a fairly foul mood - mostly because I would have loved to get into the zen mood that it so desperately wanted to foist upon me but there was just no way with my little screamer. I was mad at everyone else in the museum for having that bland, mollified look on their faces that I would have killed for. I was mad at the people in the photos for having their eyes closed to my obvious malcontent. I was mad at myself for letting Pixie get the best of me. And I was mad at the artist for giving everyone who didn't fall hook line and sinker for his exhibit a guilt trip for being modern and superficial. All in all, the exhibit was too Zen and too peaceful for people like me who just don't have the stomach to chill out. Sorry art world. I'm not ready to have my emotions dictated by you. For now, that's Pixie's job.




3 comments:

Ben Everton said...

Ahhhh, I felt the zen as I read through your account...

Was the building was as cool as advertized? Boxcars, now that's something I'd be excited about.


TKF

Sarah said...

Amazing pictures!

kelsey said...

Wow. I just looked through the portfolio on the website, and I am ready to get jiggy with the zen. I was captivated. It was all so beautiful to me. I want to come visit so I can see it in person! We need a sun vacation anyway...maybe we should head to sunny CA!