I don’t understand art.
I like to think of myself as an artist. A designer. I appreciate it when things are tastefully designed, when I use a clean user-interface and the way book covers all look lovely these days. I like when a cafe has delightful branding that flows across all its products. I…
last year I went to the Guggenheim museum of Bilbao and took a guided tour, the guide told us that for a person that studies art like her, it’s better if you study the pieces from a book, because you can read about other people interpreting that piece and also have information about the author, watching the piece in the museum is almost just a “fetish”: getting to see with you eyes instead of through paper.
As we went on the tour there were this strings of lightbulbs by Felix González-Torres, they were hanging from the ceiling and it was called untitled, the guide told us that Felix had stated that they could exhibit the lights as they wanted (mocking the way contemporary artist make this super minimal things but with precise instructions about the lighting and angles and stuff) and that the piece was part of a series he made when his partner Ross Laycock died of AIDS –another one was a black and white photo of their bed the morning Ross died, rumpled sheets and maybe still warm, that was the last image, the last remnant of him, so he enlarged and put it in a Bilboard in NY and maybe everyone thought that it was publicity for a mattress, but for him has telling the world it hurt and that he was not going to hide the pain, or maybe it was for Ross to see– the strings contained an even number of light bulbs, divided on twelve pairs (and so it can be read as an analogy for couples), all the light bulbs look identical but one is almost always going to break before the other one; he also did works with battery-powered clocks, all were metaphors of dying.
When the guide told us all this, we all stared at the strings quietly, and you could see everyone felt a little sad, because we could all relate to loss I think, it was beautiful. You should go to a contemporary museum and try to investigate about the context of the pieces, it changes everything.