Wednesday, September 8, 2010

On to the Shacks

Once our breakfast was inhaled and dessert consumed, we began the required trek up four rickety flights of wooden stairs to the parking lot.
The sun was now unrelentingly beating down upon us. Karen appeared dry browed and unfazed by the heat. I, on the other hand, was determined not to be deterred by the beads of sweat that were simultaneously pouring down my brow, midriff and underarms. Instead I called upon that steel core reserve of mine and pressed down upon each step in anticipation of the last. Sometimes while on the road to pleasure we have to pay a price. Verdad?
At last we arrived at the top. I took several deep breaths, grateful that I would soon be seated in the comfort of the car and off to our next stop.

Within minutes we approached, what appeared to be, a pocket sized museum.
As we entered, I looked toward the counter prepared to pay our entry. Standing behind it was a young man who appeared to be getting smaller as we approached. A blond surfer type, he looked up. You could almost see a residue of salt from the sea perched upon his upper lip. How could someone this young be employed at the museum I wondered? He smiled. Hmm…My recent experience at the Beachcomber emboldened me. I paused. Then stepped forward, and with my most enthusiastic voice blurted out that this was the first day of our retirement. And, I added, we chose to come to your museum. I swear the salt residue disappeared as he smiled broadly and inquired about our professions. Again we replied that we were teachers. Our response elicited the same reaction as our hostess and waiter at the Beachcomber. He turned to his coworker. They both gave each other a knowing glance, and then agreed that the admittance would be wavered. Once again we rode on a wave of fond memories they held of teachers or members of their families who served in the profession. It was a refreshing welcome after being exposed to years of misguided and unflattering media coverage. Gratefully, we entered with a new sense of importance.

At this juncture, it might be helpful to mention one of my flaws. Although I am oblivious to them, my closest friends and family can easily point them out. I tend to deny most, but have recognized and learned to live with others. One, in particular, is incurable. There is something in the core of my essence that creates an aura of expectation that far exceeds reality. In essence I am a dreamer. Before our jaunt down the coast, I anticipated a colorful vibrant display of paintings much as one would encounter in the Jeu de Paume. Yet as we began our trek through the postage stamp museum, a flood of disappointment shrouded me. These were not the anticipated Impressionist colors flashing before me. In fact this exhibit was quite dull in comparison. My eyes scanned several rooms filled with shacks. That’s right. SHACKS!!! Shacks as in shanties. A collection of wood strewn debris reconstructed into dwellings of various themes.
Which brings to mind another flaw, my attention span. It is fleeting when faced with obscure art. I struggled to focus while my internal dialogue became fixed on, “What is this? Is there a point? I don’t get it” Eventually I gave in and climbed the steps into another wing which surely would feature a different theme. Instead I stumbled across yet another SHACK!!! I paused and noted that this one was different. It held my attention. A postcard of donkeys, emblazoned with the word Administration, was displayed above the entry. I laughed out loud. I had something in common with this artist, a shared opinion of management. I held the same visual of the upper echelon of the school district. I noted each artifact the artist used to build his dwelling was a collection of discarded objects. Then I stopped in front of the placard of the artist George Herms. Apparently he was the creator of Found Art during the beat generation. His love for the discards of society, trash, resulted its reassemblage into a work of beauty. I had been under the impression that Found Art was a contemporary art form. Instead I discovered it was a by product of his association with the Beat Generation. I walked away from the museum with a new appreciation for this art form. In fact I contemplated contacting the artist to offer my self up as a found sexagarian who wished to be reassembled in to a new improved object de arte.  It was well worth the entry fee.
A Hermes Creation