Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Just when I think I’m sick of my job, and there is little that can impress me I go to an art exhibit like Robert Taplin’s “The Five Outer Planets” at the Salt Lake Art Center. I rarely go to the SLAC. I don’t know why, it’s on my way home and they have great shows. I guess I figure I see enough art at my gallery and all the other galleries I go to regularly. But I stopped in on my walk home last week. It reminded me why I work in the arts and how fortunate I am to work in a field where I can stop in galleries and see exhibits such as these as part of my eight-hour day.

Having read little to nothing about what I was going to see, I didn't know what to expect. I was all alone in the gallery. As I first wove my way through the suspended figures, it didn’t seem like anything special. But on my way out, I climbed up the stairs and looked down at the gallery from above and ended up staying there for almost ten more minutes.

Visually, there wasn’t much to this show. There were five pairs of male figures, suspended from the ceiling in darkness. Each double was made up of one figure in reinforced gypsum and the other in a translucent fiberglass resin, lit from within. The lit figures provided the only source of light in the gallery. These bodies were placed in the gallery relative to the positions and proportions of the five outer planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Granted, Pluto was stripped of its planet status during the run of this exhibit, but still.

I think I preferred to view the exhibit from a distance because it put the entire thing into perspective for me. It helped me to stand back, somewhat at level with the floating figures rather than beneath or among them. It’s hard to explain, but it was an incredibly pure and poetic experience. Like I said, I didn’t read anything beforehand, I probably should have (I got the materials and planet proportion info from a press release as I was looking for web images to include). I’m sure there are many meanings that I’m not even considering, but I thought it was such a peaceful representation of these heavenly bodies. I liked how each pair was made up of one dark figure and one lit figure. The actual planets are lit by reflective light, so I thought it was poignant that while one figure was dark, it’s double was lit from within, such as angels and gods emanate their own light. Whether the lit being represented someone watching over us or our own potential being, it brought a new level of spiritual meaning for me. I guess I kind of like to think of it as our more spiritual, wiser self guiding us. So I’m glad I didn’t miss that. I have a renewed appreciation for the kind of work I’m in.

New subject:

I found myself watching live coverage of Gerald Ford’s funeral this morning for about an hour. The nobility and dignity of these funerals always impresses me and I love the National Cathedral. I’m glad I got to go inside when I visited D.C. a couple years ago, and I was even lucky enough to go when they were having a service. I love hearing choirs sing in cathedrals. It’s just so majestic and regal.

So here is my complaint about news coverage when it comes to events like this: Why do newscasters feel they need to fill every second of silence with meaningless words? This is a funeral, it’s supposed to be quiet and reflective. But most of all, music is meant to be heard just as much as a speaker is meant to be heard. What makes a reporter think his voice is more important than Aaron Copland’s “The Promise of Living”? I saw images of the choir and the orchestra, but I heard the music only faintly because Charlie Gibson was rambling on as if I needed him to tell me that Nancy Reagan was there, and Jimmy Carter was there... And it kept happening. But when someone would get up to speak, the news reporter would stop talking for the speaker. Then of course the music started up again and they turned down the volume so they could tell about what the speaker just said. Radio coverage undoubtedly holds off speaking during a musical number -- I know, I kept on listening once I came in to work. Why is television different? I don’t need you to tell me Chelsea Clinton is sitting between her mother and Condoleeza Rice. I can see it on the screen; I don’t mind them talking while we’re watching the procession of vehicles or as people are finding their seats, but let me listen to the music. You can tell me a little about the choir and the name of the song, but let me listen to most of it. I found myself switching channels from ABC to NBC to CBS until I found one that didn’t talk over the music. And the prize goes to… FOX news, which I never watch. So thank you FOX for allowing me to experience the funeral properly.

Since it's the new year, I could talk about resolutions. I'm not big on new years resolutions, not because I never keep them, but mostly because I'm setting resolutions for myself year-round. My mom made brunch yesterday for our family and some other family friends. My mom prepared little scrolls of paper with a pen for everyone with this announcement: "Instead of setting resolutions this year, I thought we could each just have one word that guides us in 2007." My brother opened up his paper and said, "Where's my word?" Um...Carter you're supposed to choose it yourself and write it down. He threw his arms up in the air with sudden disinterest. I guess he wanted a fortune cookie.

Because I set resolutions and goals for myself all the time I decided my word will be "diligence". After reflecting over my goals this past year, I saw how many of them faded, so I'm going to be very generic and choose diligence as the new me. I'm going to be harder working, and stick to my goals and decisions. We'll see how it goes.


Andrea said...

I agree about making goals all the time and keep going with becoming better. This sounds heartless but I can't stand people who say they want to change something about themself and never do it! then why do you want to change if you don't change. Weak. Ironic I work with people who try to quit smoking.

And why is my name coming up as a blogger when I don't have a blog?

laura said...

Blogger is messed up it seems.

My mom already made fun of my 2007 word "diligent."

She said it's like having three wishes and wishing for more wishes.
But so far it's working pretty well.