Sunday, September 09, 2007

Hot classroom, cool art

I really think we should have excessive heat days off, just like snow days. Or how about just going to school for the morning, feeding them lunch, and sending them home? Tell me, seriously, what are children going to learn when the classroom temperature hangs around 90 degrees? We're providing child care, I guess. I just do a lot of distracting, not-too-taxing stuff and take them to the fountain for drink breaks every half hour or so. I taught them how to use the ActivBoard - that's always a gas. It truly is the coolest thing, running a 4' x 5' computer screen with a pen. So technology saved the day more than once this week in Miss Stolpe's room. Really, changing pen colors when you're taking turns labeling parts of speech makes the day fly by!
The skim of salt and sweat on my skin begins at about 9:30 am and reaches maximum density/viscosity by lunchtime, when I have to walk down four flights and back up four flights, take my 15 minutes to eat, make phone calls, peel off and on in the restroom, and then go back down four flights, bring the kids up the four flights, and do the teaching thing all over again. ~sigh~
This heat really has some plusses to it, though. It's great for community building, because it's something we all have to suffer and have a sense of humor about, so I'm not the bad guy, I can sympathize and make up silly solutions along with the kids, and then we get back to work. I would also rather have the kids in school at the end of August, overheated and excited to be back, rather than later in June, overheated and dying for vacation.
Tomorrow is a new beginning, and should be much more comfortable.
A friend and I went to see the Chihuly exhibit at Phipps on Friday. It's fantastic! Layers and layers of light, little peeks through the jungle and new aspects of the installations at every turn.
The artists and the installers are clearly in love with reds, all the hot/warm colors. They were lit in such a way that the depth of each piece was easy to see. Someone dropped the ball on displaying the blues, however. The lighting of the blue and lavender reeds was ghastly, and quite frustrating when the viewer can't even see the whole piece, let alone perceive the tableaux. It's like they ran out of lights by the time they got to the blue pieces, and ran out of energy and brain power.
"We have only two lights for this display?"
"Yeah, we used the other eighteen for the other room."
"OK, put one at the base here, and one to shine on the plant. That's good enough."
One blue display was adequate. Only. If the others hadn't been so spectacular, it might not have been such a contrast, such a let-down. Quel drag.
BUT... it wasn't enough to drag the whole experience down, no sir. There was too much good stuff to be grumbly for very long. Many of the installations where pieces interact with water have the water itself backlit filled with light just as the glass is. But one display in particular keeps the large water space totally dark, allowing the reflection of the pieces in the onyx ripples to be an integral part of the experience.
I also like the way the conservatory MARKETS this show, too. You can have a party here among wild and wonderful world of Chihuly! Who wouldn't want her wedding portraits taken in front of the fifteen foot phallic symbol rising up and blessing your future life together with potency and bounty!

Seriously, though, it's such a great idea to have a party in such an environment. Gives your event elan and all you had to do was book the room! The show is up until the end of November, and worth more than one look, in daylight and at night. Just wear your good walking shoes and scope out the bathrooms. When it's crowded, the tour takes an hour and a half.
I also liked that there were smaller Chihuly pieces, displayed spectacularly, available for sale. For those with 5 or 6 Gs floating around, but still, the idea of accessibility appealed to me.
I like the guy. I like how he has pushed glass blowing out into the hot spotlight. I really like the team aspect that he's developed to create individual pieces, multiple parts of larger pieces, even putting together installations in different teams. He must be an amazing teacher. Reminds me of the ideas that Tiffany encouraged in his studios a hundred years ago, lots of people working together, letting the creative energy flow. I wonder how you manage all the egos there when you need a strong vision to get anything done. He's good at it, that's for sure.
I also like how he has developed installations that demand that we look at how the outdoors interacts with the piece - making us look at what the piece has to say, but also paying attention to how we interact with the environment. Like Tiffany's work, Chihuly's glass and the natural world have amazing relationships. The living organisms Tiffany created out of glass were sensuous, evoking reality and opening the viewer up to fantastical life. Chihuly's glass takes what I've seen in Tiffany's and invites me to suspend my need for realism and draws me into the depths of new worlds the glass makes. By putting the organisms out into the water and the trees, Chihuly makes this Earth a new, alien world to explore.

1 comment:

~liz said...

i found you again - i'm stalking your blog! mwa ha ha ha!
glad ot hear you're taking part in NaBlogPoMo. you have just under 4 hours to get your first post posted!!!
can i link to your blog in mine?