Wednesday, August 19, 2009

SIDE TRIPS part three--Lolo and Lulus

Highway 93 in Montana runs along the edge of the Bitterroot Range. The vistas are wide open
with little towns called Darby and Victor and Lolo. They still harvest their grassy hay and pile it in stacks using a beaverslide.
photo from google images
Beaverslide then
Beaverslide now. This device is used to make very picturesque hay stacks--- --much more artistic than the big rectangular bales or the giant rolls that look like shredded wheat cereal for monsters. The countryside along the Bitterroot Mountains is part of the area used for the movies, “A River Runs Through It,” and “Legends of the Fall"—both starring Brad Pitt. On considering those movies as I drove along I thought how my little adventure was kinda like the movie, “Thelma and Louise” ---without Louise, and without the gun, and (dang it) without Brad Pitt. --And I was going north instead of south. Well, really there was no parallel at all to “Thelma and Louise” except for a crazed woman behind the wheel for a very long time. When I finally reached Missoula I took a break and stopped at the Missoula Art Museum not far from the University of Montana. They were closing, but I talked them into letting me cruise through the galleries while they emptied the place out. On the walls of one room were canvases about five feet by five feet. Some were one solid color and some were two colors
photo scanned from info brochure
Quoting from the exhibition brochure, “The artist transforms what at a glance appear to be monochromatic panels, revealing subtly enlivening surfaces with incandescent layers of muted color.” In the next room was a selection of prints on variations of this:

photo scanned from info brochure

Highlighting “the artist’s sensitivity, intuitive color sense, consistent instinct for compositional resolution and his ever present spirit of experimentation.” Before they showed me the door I went through one more room. It was a large gallery with nothing on the walls. On the hardwood floor were hundreds of rocks painted red and bearing the name of the artist.

photo scanned from info brochure

This artist “has been the recipient of many prestigious grants and awards.” A list of the grants and awards followed. Visitors were encouraged to take a stone with them until the “sculpture” is redistributed into the world. I took a rock.

As I left Missoula and journeyed west on Interstate 90, I wondered about what I had seen at the museum. Either I was really obtuse and missing the point when it came to the definition of art; or the creators of those works had decided everything that required skill had already been done; or they were pulling off one of the best Emperor’s New Clothes scams I had seen in quite a while. I personally preferred the art of the farmers’ haystacks.


Janie said...

I want to be behind the wheel with Brad Pitt!
That museum was weird. My guess is it's an "Emporer's new clothes" scam.
I do like the haystack art, though.

Linda Sue said...

Haystacks yes- art- (?) I am not too sure- it is like the white room art- (?) Your adventure- awesome!

Anonymous said...

Great adventure! I've only ever seen rolled-up haystacks. I definitely prefer them to the painted rocks, though I do like the two-toned canvas (not the spiel that goes with it!)

DayPhoto said...

I'm with you, I like the art of making hay better. And those artist have figured out we are all sheeple just give us 'something' and we fall for it.



Linda Sue said...

And another thing...I happen to like the emperors new clothes- I wear them all the time- everyone must appreciate that as I get "looks" when I wear them to town!


I vote Emperor’s New Clothes. I don't understand "art" like that.
Husband and I both thought the haystacks looked like loaves of bread. New one for us as well.

Anonymous said...

how I loved the haystack that looked like an olden -days English loaf of bread.

The the 'art' thing is often a mystery indeed
which is why I make fun of it on my dog's blog.
Buster is very 'artistic'. He is currently working on "Hole" a collaborative work with my son's dog Jabby.
It is a 'temporary instillation' in the backyard.......!!!

I used to write art criticism for Newsday on Long Island and sometimes it was a real struggle not t o say something like "What the****** is this!!!"
But I love looking at things and my husband is a painter.
Happy weekend!

Anonymous said...

A super publicly funded recent art work is Spencer Finch's stained glass windows on the high line with all the colors of the river.
Thank heavens they are funding some sensible things!

Kara Bunnell said...

I like the hay stack I shall name it Jockimo. it's so fun! you look like your haveing a blast on these advertures I wish I had something this cool to put on my blog. Keep up the good work, I'll be sure to check more often. <3