Jacqui (jacqui) wrote,

Burning Man Splinter Group Plans Populist Experiment For 2005

Burning Man devotees seek less snuggle, more art
Splinter group plans populist experiment at 2005 festival

This article about an angry group of San Francisco artists protesting the lack of "good art" at Burning Man really pisses me off. I mean I love when people organize rebellions against any status quo, especially artists, because I'm an artist and I've done my share of complaining about the festival, but when all is said and done the bottom line is that I remain profoundly grateful for this annual, life changing experience, that has become more important to my family than any other holiday. I am thrilled with the idea of artists trying to reinvigorate and revitalize art in the desert, but I think Larry Harvey is right in the way he has handled this, and his response makes me feel so much more respectful towards him. I think he says it best, "Art may be their church, but it is not the only church." I've never been a Larry groupie before but I may have to rethink this.

Who is this guy to say that people in their mid-forties who want to snuggle in a pink tent with oooh, horrors, "store bought items," are some kind of dilutive threat to "real" art? Fuck, this pisses me off. All art is art and that's the bottom line for me. If you say it's art it's art. If you pee on the floor and call that art, it's art as far as I'm concerned!

I learned this lesson the hard way a long time ago. There are some "artists" out there who are doing some truly evil things, people who cut the heads off animals, attach them to pottery and call that art, people who put fish in blenders and invite patrons to push the button, people who cut cows in half and make millions of dollars. There is indeed some very evil art out there, there is some really bad art, there is some very banal art, there is bad art, and there is good art, but this is subjective. There are people I would rather see thrown in jail than allowed to make what they are calling art, but legal or illegal, evil or saintly, if a person defines anything they do as art then I will call it art. I may condemn what they do, but I will defend their right to call it art.

So if I want to lug my fat, sagging, life-scarred, forty-something-year-old-ass out to the middle of an ancient, alkaline, dust-choked-desert, and snuggle up with another fat-forty-fifty-sixty-seventy-eighty-or-ninety-something-year-old, like minded soul, and a Fucking Care Bear, under a pink, magenta, chartreuse or puse covered tent, and this brings me joy, well, then damnit I will, and I will call it art IF I FEEL LIKE IT. It's a big desert, a big playa, and if you don't like what I'm doing, then ride on by and do whatever you like on your own patch of alkali.

By the way I never saw the snuggle tent, but as with any other form of art out there, I will defend their right to call it art, and have a place in our community. I mean for Buddha's sake, even Nambla the Clown is out there on the playa putting on costumes and helping to build the man. We're talking NAMBLA man, child molesters, but a bunch of middle aged snugglers is what makes this guy feel so violent that he wants to" burn the thing to the ground". Uh yeah, right, good plan, let's kill all the pink loving fat people in their forties who want to hug cause they remind you that, YOU ARE ONLY FOUR YEARS AWAY FROM BEING FORTY YOURSELF, Mr. Art Superiority, better get on that treadmill now or you may lose your ascetic good looks and get lumped in with the rest of us not-good-enough-to-be-called-artists, artists.

Here's is a quote that pricked my sensitive aging skin;

"The final blow for longtime Burning Man devotee "Chicken John" Rinaldi was a camp called Operation Desert Snuggle, a pink tent adorned with sleeping bags, blankets and a bunch of bright-colored cushions.

That was 2002. Rinaldi hasn't been back since because, he says, what was once a chaotic celebration of art has devolved into a week of mindless partying, with no element of surprise, barely any art and way too many snugglers.

"Those people bought their stuff online and made a petting zoo for overweight people in their mid-40s," said the 36-year-old owner of the Odeon Bar, a Burning Man haunt in the Mission District. "That made me violent. I wanted to burn that thing to the ground.

"Burning Man has turned into a giant group hug in the desert."

So what? And your point is...what...group hugs are bad, corny, cutesy, anti-art? Oh go to a meeting and get some recovery, and while I'm at it maybe I should too for letting this sillyness get to me -- for letting this upset me and bring out the part of me that would want to judge you for judging people like me, people who go there not only for the art, but for the hugs.

Now pardon me while I go off to make some of my own art. I'm going to record the backup vocals for my boyfriend's new album today with a couple of women I've never met before. Feels scary and threatening for some reason, and may not have to be, but Scott didn't frame this whole thing very well for me, and I've got other stuff going on as well, bleh. I'll tell you all about it later.

Big loving hugs,

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