Sunday, July 25, 2010

"Art is for the Spirit"

In high school, I wrote an essay on the art of Jonathan Borofsky. The essay coincided with his big show in downtown L.A. at the old Temporary Contemporary. In my mind "Art is for the Spirit" was central to his work. His multimedia presentations (painting, sculpture, video, kinetic, object) still strike me as having a profoundly humanizing influence. Funny enough, the one piece I have usually liked least is the one I come in contact with most: the clown dancer in Venice Beach. Clown imagery has always struck me as too facile, too much a shorthand for "weird." But lately I've appreciated the clown dancer more, especially since my 4-year old saw it the other day and couldn't stop laughing. Now I really, really appreciate it. It's whimsical but it's jarring. And it's public. Needed: more whimsical yet jarring public art, and more public art. Period. I love the mandala-like forms he painted in the 90s using the word "God." I almost wish I still had that high-school essay.

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