This back story is doubly good, as my daughter thinks I tend to over-do the back story bit. But for me, life has always been about context. It is almost impossible for me to tell a story straight-forwardly. There are always nuances, circumstances, associations that need to be explained. And for every event, there was something leading up to that event. The human brain constantly tries to create order out of seeming chaos—hence, my predilection for coming up with the back story.
But, I digress! Anyway, while our daughter was studying in Glasgow, during a semester abroad, we visited her in the spring of 2002. Glasgow, both the city and the university where she was, has a fine reputation for art. Since our daughter’s major was art history, she took us around to see various art of import in the area. We went to the two Willow tea rooms designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who was very active in the art nouveau movement in the early 20th century. We also visited the Mackintosh House that he had designed—not only the house but all the furniture in it. And we visited the Glasgow School of Art.
While we were there, we saw an exhibition of contemporary art. As we walked around, I kept hearing this random clicking sound. I really thought nothing of it. But the next thing I knew, I stumbled over and in fact kicked this small hockey puck sized object on the floor. After a bit, someone came in and picked it up and replaced it in its original location. It was the source of ONE of the clicking sounds. There were in fact THREE hockey pucks in the room—all clicking, but at different intervals. One was clicking regularly and quickly, another regularly and slowly, and the last was clicking irregularly and quite at random. Unbeknown to me, these hockey pucks were part of the contemporary art exhibit. They were the work of Martin Creed who won the Turner Prize in 2001.
Well, how was I to know?
So what did my daughter send me in an email inquiring if I wanted to kick art again? She sent a link for the NY Times article featuring Martin Creed who has an exhibit presently at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. So, if I wanted to kick art, I could drive there!
A brief quote from the article suffices to describe his approach to art:
. . .the art of Martin Creed veers between shock therapy and something quite a bit more tender. Either way it is direct, irreverent and also clownish, with, when it succeeds, an undercurrent of seriousness. Mr. Creed’s purpose is generally to take liberties, with the body, the museum, the idea of art and most of all with the viewer’s imagination. He uses whatever medium seems suitable.
So, the way I look at it, had Martin Creed been in Glasgow when I kicked his art, he probably would have approved, and would have ordered the clicking hockey pucks to remain in their new arrangement, courtesy of a clumsy American tourist!
A note about the photographs: the first two Mackintosh ones are from the official Charles Rennie Mackintosh site. The last photograph, of Glasgow Cathedral, is one I took.