Monday, September 28, 2009

Hollywood Boulevard Gave Me What I Deserved

(* There was no image of this piece on the Midway website)

Upon entering the Midway on Tuesday, September 22, 2009, I was surprised. Well, surprised is the best word I can apply to this gallery. I was beyond confused, upset, and completely irritated with myself. As I looked around at the artwork displayed before me, I found I couldn't wrap my head around the concept of what I was seeing. I asked myself, "How can this be considered art?" "What on earth was the creator thinking?" If I was surprised at just that first room, imagine how the second and third rooms made my head feel. I saw giant blue rectangles and flat cardboard sculptures... I saw completely maelstroms of colors and shapes with no defined shape or meaning to them. How could I possibly make sense of it? And then I saw it.

It was a basic white sheet of paper with scribbling on it. Upon closer inspection it was revealed that the scribbling was actual words. Written in graphite in a childish handwriting was "You got what you deserved," and underneath that was, "On Hollywood Boulevard" in something similar to an elegant cursive handwriting. While I still didn't consider this to be art, it really clicked inside my head. As I looked at this piece, I found I could relate to it. I'm a simple person. I don't bother people, and I don't like being bothered by people. I've been told I can be harsh when I need to be, and that I can be brutally honest when I want to. This is what radiated off the paper in front of me that day at the Midway. A brutally honest and harshness, that created a disturbing picture in my mind. The crudity of the writing and the uneven lines and letters helped add to the effect. When I finally found out the history behind this piece, it blew my mind away. The creator simply walked out on Hollywood Boulevard and picked up scraps of paper with writing on them. I was awed to say the least.

I am no conceptual art lover by any means. Sure, these pieces of art that are impressed upon me are called art, and are certainly interesting to look at, but for the life of me, most of the time I can't wrap my head around why it's considered art. I'm simply a girl who views art as being able to re-create an image or object in a new form other than the ones we see through our retinas. The Midway was an entirely new experience to me, and completely confusing at the same time. For me to be awed by something I don't entirely understand altogether is something amazing. This piece really got me.


  1. Great critique! I understand why this piece is so interesting to you. I am also not a conceptual artist, but the Midway sure helped me realize the point of it.

  2. I was very interested in what you wrote about this piece. I wrote about the same one on my blog and had a different reaction to it but at the same time I wasn't quite sure how it made me feel at first.

  3. By being able to see the emotion and concept behind the writing - you have found your way into conceptual art. Like it or not - you're starting to get it. :)
    Over time this will become more of a tool for you to use and less of a feeling of irritation. The way you described the qualities of handwriting in the work - that's the way you describe a formal element. Line quality - underline conversation and things brought through the work from the quality of the line. You're further ahead in understanding this work than you think!

    p.s. - this was fun to read as well. I don't know if that experience of "hun - is this art?" should ever leave you. It's healthy - keeps you questioning.