A Workshop on Making Deviled Eggs

Heart Above Art


Better Out Than In (2013)

The heart floats just above reach. It is there for you to grab, if you have the means.

You don’t reach a balloon by making an impression on it. You don’t get through to it. You reach it more literally, by coming in contact with it. And yet, the balloon is a symbol of associations; calling to mind many life instances. The words “There is always hope”, stencilled on the right edge, make the surface meaning transparent.

The girl stretches her hand. Time stops, but, you feel the upward movement. The unswerving helium in the balloon has nothing but the northerly direction in its makeup. It is what makes it tick. Every girl likes flitting between wanting to hold it and wanting to let it go and see it become tinier and tinier before it disappears into the sky. But, letting the heart go, knowing it doesn’t want to stay, tugs at an empty hole inside, that wants to contract and stretch the surrounding tissue of hope.

One of Banksy’s girls flies with balloons. She lives the fantasy, but none of her balloons have a heart. One of his heart balloons is caught in barbed wire. It is too close to tragedy for comfort. But, it is the tenuous excitement of holding a balloon that means for itself to vanish into the sky that I find most enticing.

Now the heart stands wounded and bandaged in New York. It is still both practicing and defying the laws of physics. What might have caused the wound; who fixed it up; why won’t it fly away; and why is it still within reach? The girl is gone!

As most graffiti artists fulminate against Banksy and the whole enterprise supporting his illegal activities (including authorities), he stands taller than the rest of his kind and represents them, perhaps without intending to, one can never say. But when we express disbelief as other graffiti artists vandalise Bansky’s art, we discredit Banksy and everything graffiti stands for; and we do so in the very sanctum sanctorum of street art. New York is where Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Poster Boy, Revs, El Celso, SAMO, and every artist with a street number in his nickname, who reached for the rooftops or for the platforms of subway stations, or boasted of street galleries, created the Mecca of graffiti art. And then there are some hooligans who charge a fee just for a peek at Banksy’s graffiti. They add one more dimension to the dialogue on the legitimacy of street art. In the mean time, Banksy is as visibly elusive as the balloon. But, I think the really banged up protagonist in this story is the girl. Who is she? In spite of all the artwork being white-washed overnight, and the judge declaring its doom, I hope it is not 5 Pointz.

However you see it, hope is never in letting go of either the girl or the balloon! Banksy's spray-painted, floating bubble-lettering says he agrees. (Listen to the October 31st audio guide).

Empire State of Mind

The first few paras of Don Peterson's article about The Frick Collection echoes my own thoughts on New York. I couldn't have said it any differently, for even though I have lived in DC for ten years, New York feels like home.

"New York has shaped most of my major life choices. My first serious adult relationship was with a New Yorker; my closest friend was a New Yorker; my partner is a New Yorker. I may never be one, but if “home” is where one relaxes most, the length of my exhalation when I fall out of Penn Station seems to indicate something beyond mere relief.

It’s not too mysterious. First, there’s the way the natives communicate: they speak the way I prefer to be spoken to—nice and quickly, with an overdeveloped sense of irony. Irony is a whole dialect here, within which you can still be funny, moving, open, generous, sincere. Secondly, since I have little by way of an inner life, my resting state is a deep boredom, and New York is the least boring place I know.

New York’s great secret—or rather the truth it cannot openly declare—is that it is the European capital of your dreams. Lord knows, it isn’t really America. I’m always bewildered by friends who visit, and then plan five things to do every day—a gallery, a trip to Katz’s Deli, a show…They’re missing the point. The city is the show. Architecturally, for example, its brutal grid serves only to highlight its insane, principled, obsessive variety. No two adjacent buildings are the same; and no building embodies the beauty and lunacy of the place like the Frick Collection, a jaw-dropping limestone pile taking up a whole block at the corner of 70th Street and Fifth Avenue. It’s never long before I wind up here, as often by blind instinct as design. (For others, it’s not the art that makes it a place of pilgrimage. Every casual geek will tell you that Batman’s Gotham City is “Manhattan below 14th Street at 11 minutes past midnight on the coldest night in November”, but less well known is the fact that the Avengers’ mansion is the Frick: 890 Fifth Avenue is the same address as 1 East 70th.)"
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