One of my favorite art experiences this year was travelling with Creative Time, as part of their Creative Council, to see the Jim Hodges' piece as it was being completed at a foundry upstate. The sculpture, Look and See, was right inside the foundry door and I immediately fell in love with it. Huge, shiny, beautiful. Overwhelming. The stainless steel had been polished only in the places that would remain so. All else was a swirl of rough metal scrubbing, a camoflauge jigsaw of surfaces waiting for paint. It looked so great that we all joked that Hodges should just leave as it was. Thankfully, he had other plans.
I first saw the finished work at the opening in early May. It was still a fine and beautiful thing, but to be quite frank, I did not swoon. And you all know how I much love the swoon. Maybe the experience of having seen it in such a rarefied setting with the unfinished Stella's, Koons's, and Kapoor's colored my memory of it. Although the foundry's space was cavernous, it couldn't possibly compete with the perspective that the open sky would eventually give the work. When I saw it in Battery Park City the sculpture felt smaller than I had remembered, less overwhelming.
I'm an idiot. Or, perhaps, human. Whatever. Looking back I see that my first experience with the completed work was impaired by memory, shifting perspective, and the usual social distractions of an opening. Last night after work I had to run an errand on Pine Street, and on a whim I walked over to see the sculpture again. Well . . .
Swooning was just the beginning. What followed was an absolutely transcendent experience. I allowed myself to become lost in all the hard weight and the soft angles of the steel, all the colors between black and white that can be seen in the reflective and open spaces on the sculpture's surface. Moving around the piece I was reminded of the blacks and whites that we hold so tightly because—for better or worse—they are part of us, but I was also reminded of our ability to see all the colors and hues in between if we so choose. I was reminded of how astonishing we are in our ability to do so. All we have to do is look and see.
Autumn is approaching, and I'm in love again.
Now click to enlarge the pics like you've never clicked to enlarge the pics before . . .
And lastly, I guess this is one way to navigate the art world.
Look and See is on the plaza at the Ritz-Carlton in Battery Park City through October 30.