Sunday, February 13, 2005

the gates

It was a nice apartment right in the heart of Chelsea, so it seemed like it could have been possible and so I asked him, "Is this Keith Haring real or is it a print?" He told me it was real and then pointed out other pieces he was proud of, including two gorgeous Warhols. I was a little giddy, never having seen big art names in such a private setting before, in a small apartment, hung in the hall next to the bathroom. I wanted to take more time to look at all the paintings but I could only concentrate so much, as I was about to piss all over his carpet if I did not piss on him soon. I told him such. He knelt in his bathtub and I pissed all over him, so much pee, having held it in for so long, almost wetting myself on the subway ride over to his house.

Afterwards, I stayed and talked with him for about twenty minutes, asking questions, looking at vintage gay magazines, and feeling like a kid in a candy shop getting to touch these old muscle pictorial magazines that I had only read about in histories of the male body. Physique Pictorial! Old copies worth so much, the Athletic Model Guild magazine. Normally, I leave as soon as I am finished, but I sat and talked with this man for about twenty minutes, really comfortable and impressed with him. I enjoyed talking to him so much and that surprised me so much.

It all came so naturally, my interactions with him and with his art. This afternoon, I spent at Central Park checking out Christo and Jeanne-Claude's "The Gates," and though I wanted it to, my interactions with it did not go nearly so well. I was glad to see Lauren say she found it "uninspiring." I went because you have to, because it was on the cover of the three big NY dailies yesterday and the Times has been creaming its pants about it in article after article. So I went, hoping to be wowed, and maybe my expectations were built up too much, but I don't think that is the only reason I failed to be wowed, to even connect with it.

This may be a nonreason, but I don't like the orange. And the Gates are orange - they are garish construction cone orange, hazard tape orange, not the natural "saffron" every article refers to the color as. I don't like the color. It seems more appropriate for autumn, not for late winter.

I really wanted to like these, I walked sixty blocks through the park, trying to understand, to connect. But the whole time, I kept on wondering what it was every family, every couple, every one of those many, many people in the park thought. I thought about cases of mass hysteria and wondered if this might not also be one, a public that doesn't care about art, all rushing out to the park to stare slack-jawed and amazed at pieces of fabric hanging from ugly beams, because it is done on such a large scale. Everyone always crowds around the big canvases in museums. The beams occupy too much of your sight, and the fabric, not enough. But that orange, it keeps coming back to that. Honestly, if it was a white or a light blue, I think I would find it a lot easier to join the crowds in cheering this. I walked along the large reservoir while I was in the park, it was frozen except for a spot in the center, far off, where birds were gathered round. The ice had frozen in these really cool patterns, or was melting in these really cool patterns. I am not sure which, but at the edge of the ice, along the shore, there was water, lapping gently against the shore, and this, water against ice, amazed me so much, reminded me of walking around frozen lakes near my grandma's house in Minnesota when I was a kid. This, the natural stuff, conjured more, inspired more, than that orange stuff. It is just too large-scale. And that, of course, is why people like it. And it is, of course, why I don't, because I like the more intimate things, the frozen reservoir that reminds me of Christmases at my grandma's, the art in his living room that I can see while I am naked and ready to wet myself.

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