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art dad…

My father used to take me regularly to the Watts Towers. He was not a highly cultured man by any means (although being from Kansas City he had an intimate knowledge of jazz…saw a young Charlie Parker jeered and laughed at as he and his younger friends cheered him on…punk rock has many guises, my friends…) but I feel his taking me to the Towers on a regular basis was a sincere attempt on his part to save my life…to rescue me from drowning in this sea of nothingness which he knew was a sea of nothingness but which he didn’t have the language, or maybe just the courage, to name. He took me to the Towers because he wanted to show me that a human being created something… here in the town where I lived…and that the creation was somehow about this place where I lived…..and somehow those three ridiculously simple facts were incredibly important. His need for me to see the Watts Towers was nothing less than proof of art’s real power. Not the power that the corpses at New York Times and glossy art journals write pointlessly about from their very different kind of towers. It was the power of art functioning at it most basic and significant level. Because it’s most basic level IS its most significant level. Because there’s something about knowing that someone made something – and then seeing it just standing there as a testament to one’s existence – that is somehow deeply political and democratic and revelatory and revolutionary. Art critics write in order to jealously obscure the glory of art. They want to keep it for themselves. They are collectors who don’t have enough money to buy. So they covet the living work with their dead exclusive language.

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