Every time Evi asked me if I wanted to go to the Martin Creed art exhibition at the Park Avenue Armory, I’d inquire as to what exactly it was, then apparently completely tuned her out before she answered. I’m pretty sure that subconsciously I knew my answer was a definite “no”, but my brain was playing the “ask her questions feigning interest” card so I could at least pretend I gave it consideration.
Of course, that strategy doesn’t require me to, you know, actually listen to her answer. So yesterday we had this conversation:
Evi: “So, would you like to come with me to the Creed Exhibit?”
Me: “What kind of exhibit is that exactly?”
Evi: “THAT IS THE THIRD TIME YOU’VE ASKED ME THAT. I DON’T WANT TO EXPLAIN IT AGAIN. LOOK IT UP YOUR OWN DAMN SELF.”
Me: (Sensing potential physical harm to my body) “Okay I’ll go.”
Evi had an errand to run first, so around 4pm I took the N train into Manhattan to meet her. Since it was gorgeous weather, instead of hopping on a transfer, I got off at 59th and Lexington and walked the two blocks west and seven blocks north to the front of the Armory.
Upon getting our tickets, a young guide handed me a program to help us plan our path through the exhibit. Being a manly man of the male species, I promptly ignored it. “Let’s go to this installation first,” I said manly-like, pointing at a door.
“That’s a restroom,” said the guide.
“Perhaps I’d like to leave my own contribution here,” I replied.
Okay, that conversation didn’t happen, mainly because if I use bathroom humor in an art installation, Evi would divorce me. Instead, my random direction led us to the balloon part of the exhibition, which was, as you might guess, a room filled with balloons.
“It’s to symbolize the connections between humans,” said a different young guide. “50% of the air in the room is in balloons, so be careful. The exit is in the back left.”
After the balloons, we walked down a hall where we found ourselves in a huge room–the size of three high school gyms next to each other–that was very dark and almost completely empty save for a few benches to sit on and a gigantic movie screen. As we walked in, a garage door was open way on the other side, and you could see people walking down Lexington Avenue, occasionally peeking in to see what the hell was going on. The garage door then started to close, and when it slammed shut, the giant screen showed a young-ish woman simply staring back at you. The camera then slowly zoomed in on her, until you could mostly only see her face. She then opened her mouth and showed what looked like semi-chewed food.
Then the video shut off, and the garage slowly opened again. It stayed open for maybe a minute, then slowly closed. At the instant it slammed shut, the video started again with an older woman staring at the screen, who also eventually showed the semi-chewed contents of her mouth.
Then the garage. Then another woman. Then more grossness.
“Let’s go to the next exhibit,” Evi said.
The thing about art in NYC is that a lot of times, it doesn’t feel like art. Of course, I’m kind of a doofus from Florida, so when I picture art, I imagine people staring at paintings and pretending like they mean something. Here in the city, however, art can mean watching someone moon you.
In case you thought I was kidding:
Yes, a man’s ass crack is art. So are videos of a girl vomiting, a girl pooping, and a breast:
Yes, those were videos playing. Yes, I took stills of videos because I couldn’t stomach the, uh, art.
Luckily, there were some features of the installation that weren’t nauseating. There was a room where a piano lid lifted up and slammed down on its own. A room where the light simply switched on and off. A hallway where curtains opened and closed on their own. Yet another room where there was a chair with different kinds of chairs stacked on it next to a coffee table stacked with different kinds of coffee tables stacked on it.
I’ll be honest, I was impressed. I know I’ve poked a little bit of fun at the artist, but this was way more entertaining and inspirational than any other installation I’ve been to.
And, if you don’t agree, back in the video area, Martin Creed has a message for you: