February 04, 2009 News & Features » Cover Story


Custom Eyes 

Seeing the art of the everday. Our Midseason Arts Issue.

click to enlarge cover05_arts_200.jpg

Regarding paid admission or season subscriptions or guided tours: You're going into a box, right? A room where people have created something that may be art, and they're presenting it to you, and you've bought it, because you have that ticket. But then that experience of whatever it is, be it a movie or a gallery or a play, becomes yours. So you have the power to be selective of your art, the power to control your exposure (as in radiation; as a flasher). You have to power to curate your life.

But that sort of thing happens outside the walls of controlled art as well. It goes on all the time, this constant expression, this relentless messaging. Sometimes it's the work of the city, trying to beautify with art sifted down through the filters of money and public taste. Sometimes it's personal, as intimate as a knife taken to one's own flesh, or as sort-of intimate as the handful of words you choose to broadcast online to the postage-stamp faces of your sort-of past. Sometimes it's a guy climbing up a hundred-year-old statue of a warrior to place a box of flowers — an altar to a new president.

So there's value in the art of the everyday. Though you may hardly notice it as it passes before you as a poster or T-shirt or car painted with skulls, still you curate it. You choose what to collect, inside and outside of walls, to fill your own life. When you buy the ticket, you're acutely aware of the presence of those messages. Now look again at the messages that come and go for free.

There's this idea that our culture emerges from these vibrating threads of art and sort-of art that hum around us, that our culture is a frequency rather than a tune. In which case it's worth asking what it is we're buying, what it is we're curating whenever we open our eyes.

A whole other question is whether it's any good. But then that, as always, is a question for the audience, each and all. — Brandon Reynolds

Curating our online selves.

Curating the city.

Curating the city, also.

Curating the flesh.

Curating the message.

Curating the ride.

Curating our shared ideas.




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