This has been on my mind the last week: stay at a job that’s financially stable yet mundane (admin and finances) or accept an offer that appears to be an exciting opportunity dealing art and developing a clientele but with an unstable pay?
I’ve been losing sleep over this fortunate dilemma so to take my mind off this I went to the private opening of the Rubin Museum’s “Tradition Transformed,” the first exhibition solely on contemporary Tibetan art in a NYC museum. I was looking forward to this as I interviewed some of the artists featured in this exhibition four years ago for my MA dissertation and wanted to reconnect with them.
As I arrived up the museum stairs to the exhibition, the first works I noticed were soda cans enclosed in a display case. Right away I recognized that they were works by Kesang Lamdark. Basically, one looks through the opening of the soda cans to view an image on the opposite end created by Kesang by meticulously poking small holes. The first time I saw these works was at the Rossi & Rossi gallery in London five years ago; however they were attached to a window for better lighting. This time around, in a dimmed museum setting, I could see Kesang using his cell phone to light the back of the can in order for the viewer to have a better look at the image. I was completely fascinated by Kesang’s larger work displayed against the wall – made of plexi-glass, the middle starts with a Tibetan deity figure, surrounded by various images such as skulls, modern-day female figure, and the artist’s face – again, all created by meticulously hammering small holes. Kesang said it took about 2 months to create this spectacular piece.
The famous Gonkar Gyatso also was featured but didn’t show up at the opening although I noticed people holding fans featuring his face, hah. And after five years these artists still blow my mind. Not only is it fresh and new, their draughtmanship is near perfection.
I thought it would be fun; however I came out of it feeling a bit uncomfortable about myself. It felt like either I was in high school again – the geeky girl trying to fit in with the cool crowd. Or I felt like a groupie trying to mingle with the band when all I was trying to do was reconnect with these people. It was especially awkward when other people would interrupt as I spoke to someone, and it was quite obvious that they would rather talk to them than me. However, it was reassuring when my friend mentioned that she too felt a bit awkward. We realized we’re part of this hierarchy – obviously the well-established are comfortably at the top whereas people like us, the minions, are below, trying to get to the top. And it’s true, I too would like to be at the top but not to be popular – I want to rule the world 🙂
Afterwards, my friend and I visited a show curated by her friend and featured works by Ryan Brown on view at the Y Gallery, located in a tiny basement off of Bowery. (Y Gallery is apparently the smallest gallery in NYC.) Before arriving we diverted to Whole Food’s Beer Room where my friend filled up her growler (64 oz. glass bottle) and fill it up with beer starting at only $5 – such a fascinating concept!
We headed down the basement and viewed sketches of book covers that are described as “meticulous hand craft books.” (If you want to see meticulous, go see “Tradition Transformed.”) It was an interesting statement – familiar images and their meanings are transformed by creating his own titles in order to provoke different ideas from the original image.
I felt at ease, jugging away my beer from Whole Foods and mingling with people whom I can relate to.
We then headed to the lower east side, and on my way I kept thinking about my fortunate dilemma. Then my experience at the Rubin Museum. My mind was going back and forth when I stopped at the crosswalk to see this:
And I was at ease for a bit.
Now I’m back home, tired and terrified. Have I made the right decision? Will this really be a stepping stone in my career or will I fall over instead? I guess I’ll find out for I have voluntarily thrown myself into the deep end – my life story.