24 May 2007

Meeting Sim

Last night was another spectacularly "New York" moment... I was invited to a gallery opening at the Whitney Museum of American Art - "Summer of Love: Art of the Psychedelic Era". The fascinating collection of multimedia art and popular culture was rivaled only by the unique crowd that came to the opening gala. Present was every type of expressive artist personality imagined, including the not just the expected art society upper-crust, but also present were true-blue hippies (I think they were wearing the same clothing from 1969), young socialites, academics, stuffy know-it-alls, biker dudes, and even a few children (one of which was particularly enamored with a chair made completely of silk flowers.) The media exhibits were the most striking, with everything from visually violent strobe-light rooms lined with reflective Mylar that literally attacked the senses (epileptics avoid this one!), to the relaxing and trance-inducing work of Thomas Wilfred.

There were quite a few photographs and art pieces criticizing the Vietnam war, which were incredibly violent and visceral. I literally had to look away from them after the initial viewing because they were so disturbing. Many of the editorial posters reminded me of criticisms of the war today: "Why are we at war?" "When's it going to stop?" and a particularly poignant poster that read something along the lines of "Haven't we learned from the past?" These messages, shown - at times - adjacent to the more flippant displays, such as an entire room made from undulating shapes of neon-colored foam.

Overall, my first gallery opening was a fascinating, if slightly surreal experience. At one point, a gentleman approached me and my companion and said "What a lovely couple. Where are you going on your honeymoon?" (I told him that as of yet, I had not been asked a question that would warrant consideration of a honeymoon destination, so the question was moot.) He had ethereal tufts of shocking white hair floating about his head like a halo, and a white goatee to match. Dressed impeccably in an English riding jacket, with a flamboyantly colorful and oversized pocket kerchief (he made it himself), he opined that I was "wearing a great dress, but the summer is the time for color. Perhaps a periwinkle scarf - in a barely-there silk fabric that would float around your neck. Yes, that would be perfect." He then excused himself, and when I shook his hand goodbye, he said "Yes, it was very nice to meet me." Overall, the encounter fit perfectly with the slightly drug-induced feeling that the exhibition exuded, and when I chanced upon him later, I hesitated before asking him his name (how disappointing if it was something pedestrian!) But curiosity won - his name was "Sim." My only regret is that I didn't bring along my camera to snap a photo of us together. But perhaps it's best that he live on in my imagination... peace out...

On a far less cultured note, we wrapped up the season at work today - our last show just finished not 3 minutes ago (I'm watching on the internal feed.) I still have no idea if I have a job next week... I'm thinking that either way, the news will be a blessing. The anxiety of not knowing has been driving a spike of pain through my head for the last two days. Hopefully I'll hear the news soon (today?) about my future employment... and then - no matter which way the decision goes - I'll have a direction to aim my compass! I'll keep you all posted...

p.s. 30 days to Africa! Yay!

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