Friday, April 6, 2012

Spiral Jetty with Oliver Herring

thankful for...

Me and Camila at the Golden Spike
Wednesday, I got to go with my professor (the curator of contemporary art at BYU's MOA) Jeff Lambson, 5 other art students, as well as Mark Magelby and his wife Julie to the Spiral Jetty with artist Oliver Herring.  We were all piled in a 12 passenger van and drove to SLC first to pick Oliver up from the airport.  I was turned around in the van talking to my friend Liz, then got sort of carsick and forced myself to sleep the rest of the way.  We stopped at the Golden Spike (where I woke up from my nap) then drove just a few more miles to the Spiral Jetty.

The Jetty is an earthwork that artist Robert Smithson made on the edge of the Great Salt Lake in the early 70s.  I've been wanting to see it since I was a junior in high school and am thrilled that I can cross that off of my bucket list.

The Jetty was under about a foot of water, which made it hard to see.  I climbed down to the water, found a beautiful stone (I have an ever growing collection of rocks that are in random bowls around my bedroom) and got sand in my moccasins.  Then hiked back up to where I'd started and even further up this hill so that I could get a better view of the Jetty.  Every once in a while the wind would stop for a second and a small cloud would pass underneath the sun so that the glare on the water would go away and I could see the 9 shape of the Jetty.  We got a group picture and I got one with Oliver Herring.  Oliver showed us how great random plants smelled when they were squished in your fingertips.  Seeing the Spiral Jetty was a really spiritual experience for me, especially being there with people who value art as much, if not more, than I do. 

We stopped in Brigham City for dinner at the steakhouse Maddox.  I got the lucky seat next to Oliver at dinner and looked crazy when I ordered the one meatless option on the menu: grilled cheese.  The raspberry butter, homemade root beer, and coconut cream pie were to die for, so I can only imagine how wonderful the steak must have been.

tender mercy...

I was one of the last people to get back in the van after dinner and to my surprise, I got to share a row in the van with Oliver Herring.  I've really looked up to him for a while, so I was really intimidated and nervous to talk to him the whole two hour drive home.  We talked about grad school and different places to go (Hunter, Art Institute of Chicago, etc.) and he was full of amazing advice.  But I just couldn't stop smiling.  Which I think made him feel uncomfortable because he kept shooting these huge smiles my way that I could see even in our dark car.  And those just made me smile even more.  It was the same feeling that I had when I was in London with my artist friends.  It's hard to explain what it's like being around art and other artists.  Just peace and happiness.  It was exactly what I needed.

made me laugh...

Mark Magelby.  What a funny guy.  I remember that his art history classes were way over my head, but I enjoyed going to his classes because his jokes made me laugh.  Emily noticed during our dinner that I laughed at everything Mark said, whether he was making a joke or not.  I just have in my mind that Mark is funny, so I find myself just laughing at everything.  When we were getting in the car I laughed after one of Mark's comments.  Emily turned to me and asked if I had thought that what Mark said was funny.  And I honestly answered, "I don't know."  I couldn't even remember what he had just said.  Lol.

Oliver Herring gave a three hour lecture Thursday in my seminar class.  It held my attention the whole time (which is saying a lot about how wonderful he is).  Some of his videos are so incredibly profound, and suprisingly hilarious at the same time.  This piece was in the Mirror Mirror show in the MOA a couple years ago and it has stuck with me.  It was nice to finally meet the artist and to have him show this piece to me again.  I was literally inspired and laughing out loud the whole time.

Here is a clip from Art21 that talks about this piece.  I wish I could find the whole video. So perfect...