Monday, March 30, 2009

Mike, this one's for you...

I went to see a Brazilian garage band perform in the District this weekend- it was basically the perfect concert. Small venue, great sound mixing, a perfect amount of crazy-looking costumes(my favorite was the girl's haircut: chin length curly bleached hair, with a single two-inch wide section that extended below her shoulder). They played really HAPPY rock music, reminding me of the Ocean's Eleven soundtrack... see music video below. I was tapping my toe and smiling the whole time. And the whole thing was in Portugese!!! Proving in an unusual way the old traveller's adage that you don't have to speak the same language to enjoy someone's company or understand their heart. (Well, ok, it helped after the concert that they all spoke English. I met the drummer afterwards, who is NINETEEN!!!! And sooo talented! and he sold me a CD).

Friday, March 27, 2009

Time ticks on...

I missed someone this week. Not a particular someone, but just a vague, “My gosh! Where IS _____ when you need them??” feeling. Very annoying. I rotated various friends and family members’ faces through my mind, trying to figure out who it was I was missing, and I discovered that I am sadly missing not so much a person as an awful lot of my “signature adventures,” which are only plausible and fun when and IF they include certain beloved people. Ah the drawbacks of moving across the country to explore new things. Gotta forge new "signatures."

STILL, never one to be sensible and focused on the here-and-now (especially not at 4:45 pm on Thursday, still stuck at work and more than 24 hours away from the weekend), I present a random list of Lindsey and _____’s most excellent adventures from back-in-the-day. Guys…. I want you back.

“My gosh! Where is Marcus when you need him??” I would like to magically un-missionary Marcus for a little bit so we can hang out in his poster-covered room. I can make fun of his sword collection until he threatens to impale me, after which we will discuss what archetypes J. K. Rowling used in Harry Potter (Dumbledore=Gandalf=Merlin). Then we’ll march downstairs and sneak fruit snacks right out from under mom’s nose. We think we’re so sly.

“My gosh! Where is Spencer when you need him??” I would like to see Besso in Provo right now, so that I may charitably allow him to borrow my truck, so that he may charitably take out a girl tonight. And then, in preparation for wooing said girl, I will help Spenc color-coordinate his clothes (White shoes do not match brown sweater!!!! You know this!)

“My gosh! Where are my cousins when you need them??” I want to import some extended family, so that we may feast on magical Mormony foods and pass around a plethora of cute babies! And then we can all listen in rapt attention to Breann’s latest boy story. Or sing Broadway. Yeeeaaa… Graduation BBQ at Aunt Betty’s, in T minus one month! I can’t wait!

There are many more faces and signature adventures I could write about, but that would take a day and night and a day, so I’ll stop there. Riding the Chinatown bus home from NY last Sunday, I sat next to the coolest girl, Meredith, who told me about her newest paradigm shift. She’s just turned 27, and realized there are no more excuses. “You can only sit in a bar with your best friends and get hammered so many weekends,” she explained, “before you realize that you need to choose a different path for yourself alone. You can go out on limbs. You can make new mistakes and find new love and live an unexpected life.”

I certainly appreciated the reminder. There are no more excuses. Before I leave DC, I need to:
-Eat at Ben’s Chili Bowl
-Inspect Mt. Vernon for additional National-Treasure-like secret tunnels. Preferably find and kiss Nicolas Cage while I’m at it.
-Run some kind of race- like a 5 or 10k for some idiot cause I’ve never heard of. Ooh I just googled DC runs and I think I found the winner: the Dismal Swamp Stomp Half-Marathon! Now where are my Nike's?
-Go on a glamorous date with a boy to the symphony or something, and make him stammer cuz I look pretty (haha.... pretty different) all dressed up (memo to the judgemental: that’s not being vain, that’s something every girl dreams of. See Ever After, She’s All That, A Walk to Remember, Enchanted, Back to the Future, and every prom picture ever taken as proof)
-Get my hair back to its much nicer summer-blondeness (it’s time to bust out the lemon juice and sit in the sun… come on, spring! Hurry up! Seriously, this East Coast intellectual stimulation is barely worth the miserable morning freezefest)
-Get in a fight or in trouble (preferably have to be rescued)
-Eat a Georgetown cupcake, which is apparently God's gift to sweet-tooths... sweet-teeth?
-Watch a foreign film, or any film, long-distance with Jessica and Sarah (cross-country comrades!)
- Take a walk around the national monuments at twilight, holding someone’s hand
- Climb as high as I can get in the National Cathedral
- Picnic with new friends
- Got to a concert at the 9:30 Club- preferably a rap concert. I love being white. Can I say that if I immediately add that I adore black people? My security guard friends tell me yes… just don’t say it too loudly on the street.
- Pick up weaving or pottery or some really exclusive extinct craft, so that every time I meet people and they ask, “So, do you DO art yourself?” I can put on a serious face and say, “Yes. I am very into potting.” Hahaha. I want to be like Wee.
- Continue to be a nice genuine person, even if being mean or aloof supposedly gets you places.
- Make MONEY!!!
- Eat an entire double batch of oatmeal cookie dough… oh, wait, check! Done!
- Get lost on the subway- check! Double done!
- Go to grad school
-Meet the love of my life


Recently we had the Israeli filmmaker Ori Gersht come give a lecture with the Embassy of Israel at the Hirshhorn. He's famous for his "Big Bang" films- we have two on view right now. For a minute or two you are watching this "still life" film on a flat screen, of pomegranates, lettuce, or flowers, arranged against a dark background, with a weird rumbling sound going on (the first time I watched it I thought it was just the sound of the escalators behind me). Then, in each film, out of no where, the still life explodes! In slow motion! (though it still makes me jump every time I watch it cuz the rumbling noise turns into a deafening crash). Though you hadn't realized it, the flowers had been rigged with explosives (or in the case of the pomegranate, a bullet is fired off screen and cuts through the fruit, splashing it open). You are left watching the detritus scraps of life float through the air and finally settle on the ground with yawning, rustling bass-level thumps. It's genius.

Vanitas is an old genre of painting dating back to the Northern Renaissance. Artists would paint still life's of perishable items in various states of decay, as a reminder that not all things beautiful are lasting ("beware vanity!" in other words). Ori Gersht recycles that idea, and adds in the unexpected element of unexplained destruction. By doing so, he asks us to contemplate the senseless violence that occurs in our modern society. Today's tragedy is not that things die and decay. Today's tragedy is that people die, morals decay, and beauty and innocence are obliterated before their time, as the result of cruelty, greed, and irrational violence. I've been meaning to show you this one for a while, I think it's such an interesting modern twist on a timeless idea (and you all should know by now how much I like modern twists). Notice in the still how the smoke from the explosion is just creeping up behind the flowers. And you would not believe how cool it is to watch the destruction advance; you see some flowers immediately incinerated while others retain their shapes for a few seconds, before also succumbing. It was delightful to hear the artist speak (he was very reserved and soft-spoken, with an accent) and it was so interesting to watch his behind the scene videos. The production of a Big Bang film takes so much time, and the actual event is so lightning fast in reality. Yet the final version transforms a split-second sadness into something so beautiful, slow, and deliberate. It's one of the most arresting works in the galleries.

Monday, March 23, 2009

NY Adventure Pictures

I went and had mucho adventures in New York this weekend. Here are some pictures of said escapades for you to enjoy. Have a great week! Congrats Lieren and Kent, you're parents!!!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Just wondering...

... sometimes, I feel like I know everything. I am pretty confident in my life. At my work, I glory in my research and teaching opportunities. I look for the best in my co-workers, and usually find it, and life feels pretty grand!! I have seriously remarked to myself when leaving the Hirshhorn at night, "I am seeing life through rose-colored glasses!" (The fact that the sun is setting when I leave every evening might be helping :) A lot of the time, I have faith that Heavenly Father is working it all out, and I lreflect back and see how much he has blessed me in the past, and I glean even more confidence in the future. (haha- I just got Maria von Trapp's "I have confidence in sunshine! I have confidence in rain! I have confidence that spring will come again! Besides which, you see- I have confidence in ME!" stuck in my head).

But during a few scattered hours this week, I found myself wondering if I really know anything at all. I used to wonder that all the time (it was called adolescence. I'm sure you've all been there). I really disliked experiencing the old familiar sensation of second-guessing myself and living life on the mild side. I'm so thankful for college, for it gave me a foothold and helped me figure out who I am, and it introduced me to the world's greatest people who loved me unconditionally as I slowly figured things out. I found joy in art history and business studies there. I learned how much happiness service will render the servant. And I adventured a lot, which as we know, produces lots of pleasure and fun facebook photo albums :) And now that part of my life is in the past.

I keep meeting people now who used to be like me, and aren't anymore. Do they know something I don't? Will life eventually crush the confidence out of me? Is it even confidence I've got, or something with a little worse connotation... like pride???

I don't have any answers today. BUT true to form, I have an artwork that relates to my crazy musings. Presenting the current world record holder for most expensive artwork from a living artist (sold in 2007 for $100 MILLION dollars, although the identity of the buyer remains hidden and the sale is heavily disputed as genuine amongst the art crowd):

For the Love of God, by Damien Hirst. 2007. It's a platinum cast of a human skull encrusted with 8,601 flawless diamonds, totalling 1,106.18 carats. The human teeth are real. Art legend says that the artist, "Britain's most notorious bad boy," chose the title because it's what his mother exclaimed when he told her about the project. Hirst had been enjoying record-smashing auction results for his brightly painted pills glued to metal cabinets, and dead 15-foot tiger sharks set afloat in vats of formeldahyde (from whence my art economics book, "The $12 Million Dollar Stuffed Shark," got its title). Tabloid writers, who had spent the 90's dishing about his cocaine dealings and outlandish spending records, were all in a flurry when this artwork dropped. Hirst Did It Again.

He seems unstoppable. Virulent jealousy, critial acclaim, multi-million dollar patronage, and continually dropped jaws all surface in his wake. We are all secretly waiting for the day he falls flat on his face, bankrupt (though I'd be willing to bet his ultimate disgrace will come from an OD, Heath Leger style, rather than a decline in value). He's just too good, and For the Love of God practically cackles at us that the artist is fully aware of his brazen status. For the Love of God is a Memento Mori (see my Abject through Zeitgeist post if you don't know what that is) with conceptual references to modern day's deity: money. Pretty brilliant. (And someone thought it was $100 million worth of brilliant). Oh, to put it in perspective, it cost approximately $11 million to make. That's a price increase of 809%!!!! The whole thing is ridiculous.

Am I proceeding through life built on shaky confident foundations like this overinflated pop icon? Or are better things to come for me? Where are the lines to be drawn, between confidence, pride, and foolishness? And wickedness?

I remembered just in time to look at the scriptures before I closed my post. Lo and behold, I was reminded why Nephi was the MAN. Look what he wrote:

"O the wise, and the learned, and the rich, that are puffed up in the pride of their hearts, and all those who preach false doctrines, and all those who commit whoredoms, and pervert the right way of the Lord, wo, wo, wo be unto them, saith the Lord God Almighty, for they shall be thrust down to hell! Wo unto them that turn aside the just for a thing of naught and revile against that which is good, and say that it is of no worth! (Lindsey's side note: OR say the thing of naught IS of worth) For the day shall come that the Lord God will speedily visit the inhabitants of the earth; and in that day that they are fully ripe in iniquity they shall perish."

Hmm.... When I was little I always thought, "Man, I hope bad guys read this book, so they will stop!" I remember my mom or some teacher teaching me that that the Lord uses three "wo's" in a row only a couple (maybe just 3?) times in the Book of Mormon. So you know this verse means business. But who was it written for? Do bad guys even read scriptures? Or is it all for me?

Little Lindsey (and current Lindsey) liked this scripture a lot better, a couple verses away, "I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.”

I've only got a couple of lines and precepts under my belt, that's for sure. But at least I'm still asking questions :)

PS Mom I think you're right. It all depends on where your confidence is coming from. Yourself=You burn. God=You learn wisdom.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

How many debts of gratitude do you have?

Arch of Hysteria, Louise Bourgeois, 1993. Bronze

"Art is dancing lessons for the eyes."

-That one actually sprang from my own little mind earlier this week during one of my interpretive guide shifts in the Louise Bourgeois galleries. I've now spent 25+ hours strolling around and around Louise's 65 years worth of works since the exhibition opening. I spend the whole time contemplating the works and then approaching complete strangers, asking for their thoughts and opinions about the show. The visitors have come from every walk of life and have voiced every type of ridiculous or ingenious opinion (my favorite: "Lindsey! That's not a spider, that's the alien Louise must've been talkin to when she made all this junk!"). I've been very grateful for my initial experience of abhorrence for her work; it gives me a point of reference when people just shake their heads and mumble how crazy she is or how disturbed her work feels to them. I can say, "You know, I initially felt that way, too; I hated her works. But as I studied them more, I came to admire at least how she was able to convincingly relay her raw inner emotions. It takes some sort of courage, and a lot of skill, to do that so deftly."

And then I draw their attention to my favorite aspect of Louis Bourgeois' oeuvre; her fluid, constant change between mediums. She started with those roughly carved wooden Personage totems, then skates on over to soft forms made out of plaster and latex in the 60's and then, inexplicably, starts toying with marble. She bounces to installation work after the 70's, when her husband dies, and then glides into soft, sewn, and stuffed works as well as works on paper (drawing, painting) in her late years as she loses dexterity. I like to draw people's attention to how personable she is as together we observe her constant change of focus. Her works have this strange psychic mirror effect; you can identify your own anxieties and shifting life focus in them, as you move amidst the strange shapes. Or at least, I can (yes, I'm a crazy art-obsessed freak. I've turned over to the dark side). I grabbed a couple of jpeg's of some of my favorite works from the show (at the bottomw of the post) so maybe you can flirt with my world too, if you dare. Fee free to tell me anything you think about them. Plus Jayci- inquiring minds want to know your theory why van Gogh painted white roses!!)

I like to think I am teaching people's eyes to dance. Art begs for active, moving viewership; the lines, curves, and angles get you moving, and sometimes their color, or texture, or emotion causes you to pause and marvel. Day after day now, I see people turn their back on the show and get ready to head back out into normal life, and they leave the LB exhibition with their eyes full of wonder, or at least full of thought. I can almost picture the works left behind in the galleries taking a silent bow.

I love my job.

I have been a stressball all week because of worrying about what comes next, though (it's dawned on me that I'm half way through my internship) and also because of the usual lack of sleep and sustenance, which are really starting to worm their way up to the top of my list of "Surprise Features of Adult Life." But today is Saturday, which means I got to sleep in, for the first time in about 4 weeks. YAAAAAY!

I've had so many good adventures lately, I hardly know where to begin.

Random sampling of Lindsey's Wild Life: Lebanese food and funk concert (Alice Russell... youtube her. Great voice!), an accidental encounter with theater-in-the-round (me and a friend were just trying to get to a photography exhibit, but ended up thrust into this little theater, watching half of a play... until it got ridiculously raunchy and we had to leave to get the Spirit back. Phew), driving my roommate's car at 5 am without the headlights (don't ask.), again with the cookie dough for dinner (I didn't have time to grocery shop for over a week! And all I had were baking supplies! I love being a Mormon girl.). Oh and there was a Naval Academy Ball (gotta love those men in uniform... mm.), and the time I helped out with "Artist at Work With Youth" at the Hirshhorn, where local kids come to the museum and a professional artist (Mary Coble) took them through the galleries and then taught them to make their own art; that was fun. I think I'm allergic to kids though (or that it's almost spring time) cuz I was so sneezy and stuffy the whole time.

I'm still continuously stepping out of my comfort zone in the big, scary LDS singles world (I miss my BFF's so much... but I'm so grateful for cell phones, and for all the friends I keep on having hour-long conversations with), and finally, I am still enjoying my continuous, progressive enchantment with the professional world. I really love studying museum culture; I am always asking pesky questions to all of the senior staff at work. I can't help it- I want to know what makes collection storage tick, or how the endowment-soliciting development people maneuver amongst the rich and famous. I really appreciate how the education specialists in my Programs department choose to present the glories of modern and contemporary art to the public, who sometimes embrace, sometimes debase, their work. (Sometimes when I meet people in the galleries who just what to know, "What does this mean?" and I tell them that's half the fun of modern art- whatever they say goes. Artists over the last century have revolutionized the construction and aesthetics of art because they considered the imaginitive process that goes on in the viewers' minds the real artwork.)

I've also been completely absorbed by this book The $12 Million Dollar Stuffed Shark, which explains the inner workings of contemporary art prices, something that mystifies normal economists. I'm fascinated by the genius (and the nerve) of some of these artists. I look forward to trying my mettle in their ranks. Haha- and my last adventure to report: I participated in my ward girl's basketball game this morning. I think it's the second time I've played basketball in my whole life (I found out I don't speak basketball. They kept telling me to box someone in and I had to have someone explain what that means.) For the first time I thought, "Oh my gosh. I really have transitioned into one of those artsy nerd girls on the sidelines!" But I got a foul, that made me proud. And I can still hold my own in swim, volleyball (ish) and football. So there.

There is a Louis Bourgeois drawing entitled, "How Many Debts of Gratitude Do You Have?" and it looks like a Venn diagram, with all of these little bubbles listing people or circumstances for which she is grateful. Mine would be so huge, and behind each of them is God. He gave them to me. My double-sided coins of trials and blessings. Whenever things get too heavy out here (which is often... this place is so crazy!) I just keep on going back to that fact. I'm learning a lot out here and I think God is happy with that. I hope I can continue to find good friends to share my musings with (besides all you wonderful far-away family members and friends). What an adventure. Oh, PS, I gave a talk last week in my 9am sacrament meeting.......... and it was Daylight Savings Time. Guess who's phone didn't change automatically like I thought it would?????? OH YEA BABY! I gave a talk in my uber-professional, suave ward of 27 year old high-and-mighties... in hair that hadn't been washed in two and a half DAYS!!!! (although reports from friends who witnessed my talk assured me it wasn't really apparent). Haha... only me.

from top to bottom and left to right:

Spider, 1997 (that's the one someone thought was an alien)... it's about 12 ft. tall!

Femme Maison (House Woman), 1945-47

How Many Debts of Gratitude Do You Have?, No Date

Lair, 1962 (made of plaster) 14 inches tall (mom wanted to know)

Cell (Twelve Oval Mirrors), 1998

10am is when you come to me, 2008 (drawings on sheets of music paper)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Tale of Lindsey's Brief Stint as the Undead

Good evening, and welcome to Masterpiece Theater(blog). Today is Tuesday, March 3rd. Since February 22nd, Lindsey has been on an adventure of sleeplessness, glamour, service, and sightseeing-- sometimes all at once-- resulting, as I mentioned in the last post, in a resemblance to a zombie. At one point during the week I told my friend Dani that I was experiencing something akin to a Mormon-style hang over. I’m looking forward to the day I finally get to detox.

Last Saturday and Sunday were sleep-deprived because of the usual combination of youth and social activities that extended past my normal bedtime. Unavoidable, and very enjoyable (except for this disgusting Peruvian chicken and butternut squash salad with couscous that I bravely attempted Saturday night in the Gallery District… bleeeeeh).

Monday was perhaps my favorite of all the adventure days. A woman contacted me over the weekend, explaining that she was from my home stake in Las Vegas and would be in DC shortly. Her name was Carol Ewing, and she has been legally blind for a number of years now. She wondered if I would perhaps be available to serve as her sighted guide while she was doing business on Capitol Hill. She is currently serving as President of the Nevada Council of the Blind and would come to DC as our state's rep. I told her yes I could help, and got work off (thank you, Milena! Best boss ever). Hence, I found myself climbing into a taxi early Monday morning to meet and escort this delightful lady around; by the end of the day, after visiting with our Nevada Senators and House Reps, both of us decided that our experience together was not service, but rather, a full circle of enjoyment and friendship. I got to listen to her present a wonderful set of issues to our state reps, and I really I enjoyed being able to see the Capitol and our democracy in action. Our representatives really are there to hear their constituents. I admired Carol for her strength and commitment to her various causes, and for just being a well-spoken, polite, and cheerful lady. Without her, I don’t think I would’ve ever had the opportunity to visit the Russell, Hart, and Cannon buildings, or taken the time to consider how much handicapped people still have yet to hurdle. And she was kind enough to introduce me to each of these important people, who in turn remarked that it was fabulous to see a young Nevadan “representing” over at the Smithsonian.

It was a great day. Funny sidenote: when I woke up on Monday, already tired, I thought, "Ok, she’s blind. I don’t have to do my hair or makeup." So I hit the snooze several extra times and shuffled into her cab a little on the shabby side. I was mortified later when I remembered where we were going and who we were meeting. By then, of course, I just had to suck it up and smile. Hee hee.

So after hanging with Carol on Monday, I managed more nights of staying up talking to various friends, chatting at Institute (a new experience for me- I’ve always had BYU classes to supply my gospel knowledge needs) and participating in late night grocery run, which all continued to sap my coveted night hours, and then… there was Louis Bourgeois.

The Exhibition opened this past week! Also, the fourth floor museum staff hosted their tri-annual board of trustees meeting (a very big deal, with very wealthy and important attendees). ALSO, after an 18 month search, the Hirshhorn selected a new director this week (Richard Koshalek… Google him). From my little outside corridor desk, I enjoyed a front row seat to all the energy, nerves, excitement, and sometimes panic of the senior staff members sprinting past me. It was a rocking week, to say the least. And then, of course, there was the Louis Bourgeois opening reception… which was NOTHING like my previous parties at the BYU MoA, that’s for dang sure. I think it'll go down in history as my first VIP event. Featuring a very popular open bar, of course, the event was replete with tuxedo’d waiters continually coming by with fancy drinks, and tiny delicious gourmet snacks, er, refreshements, stacked on silver platters. I basked in the glow of rubbing shoulders with senators, billionaires, and famous artists, being the little Cinderella girl that I am. All the while, I busied myself downing various European finger foods and sipping sparkling water from a fussy crystal glass. And talked art with the other interns and younger guests. I wished I had friends there to enjoy it with. Oh, and………. I Loved The Bourgeois Show.

I loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe it’s because this selection of her works thankfully excludes some of her less-than-appetizing pieces. Maybe it’s because the works’ placement in the familiar curving walls of my home museum makes them less officious to me. Maybe I’ve really just turned over to the dark side (actually, I think that’s the ultimate reason, scary huh?). At any rate, I was thoroughly enchanted with the show, and hobbled home that night, after eleven hours of work in fabulous three inch heels, to my first adult encounter with lower back spasms :) Stupid heels and horrific office chair... they’re trying to bring me down.

In addition to the fun zone of the museum, I had a best friend from BYU, Danielle Walton, in town this week; she sucked up my other nights. I was so happy to see a familiar face and share some wicked laughter. Our adventures included 80’s dancing, the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center, multiple movies at our friend Taylor’s house, and the requisite shopping that all young American girl friends enjoy. Great times. Great, exhausting times. DC is growing on me.

And now, just for my beloved mother’s sake, an
artwork, (well... for her, and anyone else who has actually made it through this monstrous tale). Art, as you’ll have noticed by now, can endear itself to you via multiple means: its historic beginnings, its morals, its compositional elements, etc. This is one of my mother’s favorite paintings, which immediately attatches it to my heart. When she saw it in the National Gallery several years ago, its soft colors and gentle movement, along with the surprise of learning that it is by van Gogh (who she had never really been impressed by) etched it in her memory forever, and I went and paid it a visit in her honor last month. For you, Mama. Enjoy. PS did you know this may be the only painting of roses v.G. ever did? They don't know why...
Vincent van Gogh, White Roses, 1890. The National Gallery of Art.