Friday, November 26, 2010

ArtTraveler returns to US after two years with fresh eyes and finds perfect Tate Modern installation

As someone lucky to have traveled or lived in 37 countries, only one claims me as point of origin: the United States.

It is with fresh eyes I returned late September 2010 for a month's sojourn to visit my daughter, Kate, her daughter and my grandchild, Isabella, in Phoenix, AZ and my graphic designer son, Josh. in Charlotte, NC.
Roy Kochendorfer: Remind you of anyone?
I also visited a very close highschool mate Roy Kochendorfer from South St. Paul High School, South St. Paul, Minnesota, who lives in Santa Barbara, CA with wife Cathy and dog Chuckie.
On 12 October, we met again--in Phoenix-- and joined four other Class of '61 grads in Sedona, AZ for a mini-reunion.

Enroute, Roy and I needed to stop for gas as we were in the middle of what looked like Death Valley. We did. At the busy metropolis of Spring Creek or Spring Creek Village.

Spring Creek consisted of two clusters of three buildings. The centerpiece of this installation: a couple of gas pumps and a general store with a specific attitude.

We were in the heart of the desert rats, the gun-totting rednecks and Tea Party libertines, like getting in Doctor Who's time machine and dialing the wrong year, going back or perhaps forward in time. Hard to tell. Three burly men waited to pay for cigarettes, gas and/or caustic soft drinks.

In the middle of Arizona's desert, Spring Creek.
Enter another world: Doctor Who visits Spring Creek.
Spring Creek, AZ: sodas, bongs, knives and petrol.

Roy immediately spotted one huge man, tall and barrel chested with his stomach hanging over his belt. Also on the belt and in plain view, a Glock 9mm pistol.

I soon realized we had walked into a ready made installation for Tate Modern or Googenheim.

I couldn't help marvel at the mad collision of cultures: Two large glassed-in cases full of marijuana and hash smoking accessories, as though one wall was dedicated to the history of Amsterdam coffee houses.

Then the wall of knives and assorted weapons of individual (as opposed to mass) destruction. I asked the soft spoken all-American girl next door behind the counter, probably 16 or 17, what people did with the knives. "Mostly for decoration," she pondered. You could have armed any Armagedon motorcycle gang in a one-stop purchase.

Pipes, bongs and two cans of Bud Lite.

Desert rats and rednecks: welcome!
I know this isn't representative of most of America. And for this we can be thankful, but it's nonetheless part of our fabric. It should be shown, discussed. And as far as I am concerned, feared.

Anyone game for simply planting this installation--as is-- in London? After all, Arizonans bought one of London's most famous bridges and installed it for their amusement?!

Rock on and practice peace.Also, check out my funky videos at: http://bit.ly/h1vruw

Stefan, the ArtTraveler(TM)

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