Sunday, December 10, 2006

Art gives me a hangover

Last night we went to the member preview party for the new Institute for Contemporary Art--the first art museum to be built in Boston in almost 100 years. The building is very cool, sitting on the water overlooking Boston harbor, with much of the upper floors cantilevered out in a rather gravity-defying manner, and feels open, airy, with a great energy.

And the very first thing you see when you walk in
Chiho Aoshima's enormous mural of a young girl farting, the cloud of gas creating people who fall into an Eden of birds and deer and crocodiles. The Boy said, "If Gorillaz and Yes made an album together, this is what the cover would look like."

Modern art. Isn't it awesome?

There was a great mix of audio-visual work, installation, sulpture, painting and photography, though perhaps most notable was how much was digitally created/enhanced. One video piece featured photos of chairs people had put up for sale on eBay--it was nicely cut together to a funky score, but still. Another work, a Jeff Koons collage, was the result of time spent in PhotoShop; it was dynamic and active, but it still left me wondering how much of being an artist today meant knowing one's way around the Adobe suite.

Not to say there weren't some stunning works. I especially loved Josiah McElheny's Czech Modernism Mirrored and Reflected Infinitely: eight highly reflective decanters housed inside a mirrored box, the side facing the viewer being mirrored on the inside. The result is that the objects in the box have a repeated reflection that trails off into infinity--as the description next to the piece points out, it's "like the top shelf on the bar at the end of time."

Speaking of bar ... after we'd finished exploring the galleries and the building, we took the Great Glass Elevator down to the theater level, where there was music and Coppola wine and lorryloads of interesting cheeses. The DJ was seriously mixing it up, going from trance to Brazilian to Lisa Stansfield to ... the theme song from All in the Family. The Archie/Edith version. The expressions on the faces of the glitzed-up friends of the arts were priceless.

So we people-watched (the crowd was a fabulous mix of elderly bohemians, middle-aged Brahmins, beautiful hip couples like us, har har, and a fat guy dressed like some kind of bug-alien) and got the most from our complimentary drinks vouchers, and then we started chatting to a couple of guys, a photographer and a composer, who were standing nearby. And then they went and got us more drinks.

And one of them was trying to pick up a (very cute) girl ... and then her friends showed up, so we hung out with them ... and there were more drinks ... and then this artist guy dragged The Boy away to look at the galleries some more, leaving me to make conversation with a car salesman so he'd stop getting in the way of our new photographer friend's attempts to win over the cutie ...

And then it was midnight and the lights came up. We'd closed out yet another party. As our new little group of buddies was heading out, someone (not me, I swear) said, "Hey, let's go to the
Enormous Room!"

It seemed like a good idea at the time. This morning ... not so much.


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