Yesterday I met a woman who was joyful and so nice that I said to her, “You don’t seem like a New Yorker.” In fact she wasn’t. She said she makes a practice of being nice to others, which struck me and I am still reflecting on this. In contrast, I saw myself through the reflection of the mirror she cast back to me energetically, and recognized an old familiar self that creeps up when I have fallen into a dour mood.
There are stories we tell ourselves about the past that may not be the whole truth, or our perception is a result of our positioning, both psychologically as well as physically. For example, yesterday I was at the height of a cold or allergy, (I am not sure which, or maybe a bit of both) which effected how I traveled through the day. I was definitely not feeling joyful. On my way home I stopped to play the lottery, which usually amounts to my buying a one-dollar ticket for the larger jackpots of lotto. A man next to me was scratching away at a ticket, and won a small amount of money. Then, another man won $1200. I decided to follow suite and called upon the spirit of my mother who loved gambling. On the second scratched card I won $5, and on the 4th won a free ticket to Take 5. From that ticket I have won another free one.
The message was that your luck can change, and it does everyday. So does one’s state of being, happy/sad, optimistic/pessimistic, etc.
Patrizia and I went to see the biennial exhibit at the Whitney Museum last night. We both agreed that for the most part, the caliber of the work was worse than that of high school students and it was over all, lifeless. If this is cutting edge work I wonder whose edge it’s cutting. It demonstrates not only that our world is in trouble, but so are the curators and artists. Instead of utilizing intelligence and integrity in the work it seems that they have bought into the system. Firstly there is no joy in the work, and also it offers no light, no sense of possibility or vision. I know I am generalizing, and there were a few videos for example, that had a poetic sense and were moving. But we both left feeling gloomy. Of course, liking or not liking is not enough to judge work by, but poorly executed work is no place for a bienniale.
What I mean about buying into the system (not only in terms of art) is the following: A friend of mine went to an art opening, then, the next day she received a nasty email from a woman who was also there. One of the things this woman said was something crude about my friend’s wrinkles. Putting aside the attacker’s rage, is not age also beautiful? What about all the years of living that it takes to get wrinkles; isn’t that something to revere rather than despise? What about the gnarls of a tree, aren’t they interesting, even beautiful and something to marvel at? No, we have bought into the ideas of a culture that is so disconnected from life and from itself that we don’t recognize beauty unless it looks like an emaciated 20 year old model, or honor or have interest in the process of aging. I happen to have been at that opening and I was struck at how radiant my friend looked that evening, so much that I had even told her. Obviously the woman who wrote it was projecting her lack of acceptance about her own aging onto my friend, but those thoughts are not original and unfortunately they are part of our cultural conditioning.