I spent some time admiring Megan Geckler and Siren Bliss last night.
Megan Geckler‘s installation was definitely the most captivating. It was called No Chance to Move Backwards and See. You really did need the “Do not touch” signs because as soon as you saw the room you are drawn in and want to go right to it. Then as you walk around you realize every angle creates a different experience.
Here’s a video of her putting together the installation at UMOCA:
The exhibit on Bliss was a completely different experience. I think one of the things that interested me most about Siren Bliss is his scale of creation. He is constantly producing. He claims to have created over 80,000 pieces. He barters his art for what he needs with no exact system in place. One day he’ll trade for stocks, the next day for prunes. He claims to have no bank account or credit card. He’s a nomad who’s known under at least six different names (Siren Bliss/Micheal Wipple/Sky Jones/Joseph Banker/Richard S. Dickens/Art Carter).
The curators made a point not to contact Bliss and to treat the exhibit like a history lesson. So nothing came directly from him; even the artwork in the displays were reproductions. To me he was portrayed like a mystical figure. It made me feel like Bliss is actually some sort of myth. Someone who gets to work with different rules. How else did he escape all the tiny little things that seem to furtively push the rest of us towards that same little streak of trivial day to day compulsions? Why does he get away with it and not us?
But then again maybe he doesn’t.
Maybe the exhibit romanticizes it. Maybe he really submits his tax returns in February, has tedious conversations with his friends about how boring and awful the DMV is, worries about high cholesterol, and dreads how much work he’ll have to do when he gets back from a long vacation. But I’m not sure I want him to have a common thread with “regular” people. I like picturing an idealized Siren Bliss picking a new name every few years, traveling the world (with his self run museum in tow), measuring his work in prunes, pantyhose, or whatever he can get his hands on, and going through gallons and gallons of paint because he just can’t stop drawing and painting. But even if it’s not that way I’d still like to see his museum one day.
It’s kind of funny because I felt like I didn’t get too see that much artwork of his; I’m mostly fascinated with his story. Isn’t it weird how being in the public eye, even on a small scale, can create a “persona” for someone? I think I may need to learn more about the real Siren Bliss. I’ve found a website with the following introduction:
“This website along with our sister site at www.bankerart.com are the only authorized websites for Sky Jones Art, and the only sites where you can communicate directly with Sky Jones. Don’t be fooled by sites pretending to represent the Bankers Art Museum and Sky Jones. You are already here.”
It seems like a good place to start.
Currently: grateful for gloves, long knit scarves, and all things warm