Sunday, June 25, 2006
Dada, Mapplethorpe, Burning Man
Reading the latest issue of Art in America this afternoon. Several terrific articles. One about the new Dada exhibit showing at MOMA. Another about a Robert Mapplethorpe retrospective that was a major hit in Cuba. And another about the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Burning Man Festival in Nevada this August 28th-September 4th. The Dada show is especially apropos, given the times we are living in, with the crazy war in Iraq and all the terrorist hoo-haa going on. There are more than a few parallels between post-WWI Europe and now (entangling alliances, weapons of mass destruction, leaders who are incompetent or just plain evil). The Burning Man article gives a fascinating history of the festival, from the first Burning Man when an artist and a few of his friends and some strangers gathered on Baker Beach in San Francisco to watch an 8-foot Man made of lumber burn, to the mid-90's when Dead Heads joined and a group of punks threatened to shut the whole festival down, to the present day when over 38,000 people lived in the festival's temporary Black Rock City. It sounds like quite a surreal experience, with temples and camps, installations and be-ins; all the costumes and clothing (or lack of) and performance; not to mention the "gifting economy" (there are no businesses or things for sale, per se, at the festival, you need to bring everything you need to live, and share/exchange with others). I am thinking of asking Dean if he wants to go this year, and camp out, look at the art, be a part of it. I'd love to see what goes on, meet people, hang out, maybe even get some writing done, or a collaboration. Or would I just be being a fucking tourist? Hmmm . . . has anyone ever been before? Suggestions? Advice?