Dreaming Of Art…

A Pistoletto Happening at the Tate Modern, 2009

I love the Arte Povera movement. The work of Michelangelo Pistoletto, a longtime favorite of mine, is now on view now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The exhibition closes on January 16th. A visit to the museum and an overnight stay in Philly is the only item on my Christmas list. Hint hint…

On October 30, to inaugurate the opening of the show, a recreation of his 1967 “Walking Sculpture” was staged in Philadelphia (similar to the one at the Tate, in the above video). You can view Philly’s video by clicking this link:


It’s fun watching Philadelphia’s video and especially so to hear what Pistoletto says at the end. He thanks the appreciative crowd by saying: “I am almost moved.” Watching it, we burst out laughing. Maybe, due to a language barrier, he’d meant to say “most moved,” but I prefer to believe he meant exactly what he said.

Alas, this morning, as in many mornings (though, usually this occurs from Monday through Friday), I awoke feeling just like this Pistoletto sculpture:

Burdened by a weighty cranium.

So much pressure — overworked and under-appreciated at a job I loathe (no one ever says, “thank you”); being completely misunderstood by my co-workers (“Why are you so quiet?” “Why don’t you talk more?”). Hello…? I’m working.

Basically, I’m an introvert who enjoys my solitude, but not anti-social, by any means. But I’m neither conversant in, nor care about, the private lives of celebrities — where they live, who they’re dating, why we should rip them apart (“That’s what they’re there for,” as a celebrity-site addicted co-worker once announced).

Yesterday, the (chronically burping, gas-passing, potatochip-munching explosive “psychopath”) co-worker, who sits next to me, offered this completely unsolicited comment.

When I was first hired, he said,  he thought I was “mean,” because of how quiet I was (i.e., not complimenting him every two seconds on his extraordinary personality).

I generally don’t joke in an unfunny and forced way about every living person or thing. They do. And these jokes produce completely forced guffaws and ear-splitting, witch-like cackles on a daily basis.

All I want to do is to be myself and do my job, which is demanding and requires concentration. Is that so much to ask? But most days I feel as if I’m back in Junior High School.

Lately, I find myself needing all day Saturday to decompress from the work week, only to be confronted by Sunday — just one day away from Monday. The dread of Monday’s arrival has begun creeping into my consciousness earlier and earlier on Sunday, to the point where I sometimes wake up with the dread.

Art — in whatever form it takes — is my only salvation. When you’re an artist and you’re in the closet (my co-workers routinely make known their narrow views on art — as well as their narrow views on practically everything else — blatantly clear), when you’re hiding your light under a bushel, life can be hellish.

As part of a text Pistoletto wrote in 1967 called “Famous Last Words”:

When a person realizes he has two lives – an abstract one for his mind and a concrete one, also for his mind – he ends up either as a madman, who, out of fear, hides one of his lives and plays the other as a role, or as an artist, who has no fear and who is willing to risk both lives.

As an artist working as a legal secretary, the roundest peg in the squarest hole — I have become “a madman.”

Number One on my list of New Year’s Resolutions:  QUIT.

Although, if any one of my co-workers finds out about this blog, they will spread the word and I could be fired. And you know what that means…unemployment checks 🙂

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