Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Feeding the Soul

A delivery guy with a hand cart wheeled his boxes in front of me and let out a low whistle and some incoherent but clearly complimentary words for the woman just ahead of me. I laughed.

"You like her?" I asked provocatively. Why not? He was being so obvious, it was clearly no secret, his interest, his intentions. He smiled as he pushed his products closer toward the Italian market and looked me up and down appreciatively.

"Hey, I like you too..." he said, pursing his lips sexily. At this, I threw back my head and let out a very loud guffaw as I continued past.

"You're not picky, huh?" I asked.

He shook his head. "Can't be picky in this lifetime, Sweetie," he said.

I was in a hurry and he had his hands full, otherwise I would have given him a star, maybe two or three. I don't know what it is about guys like this that crack me up, that make me laugh long after the exchange is over. I guess it really just boils down to honesty and their clear desire to do whatever it takes to feel good.

We are, all of us, hiding so many of our thoughts and emotions behind a mask of compusure commensurate with how badly we want to fit societal norms. It is, often, so boring. I really want to know what people think. Often, because people know this about me, they will tell me, they will let loose something they think will shock and surprise me. Very little does. I don't know why. I guess I've been alive a long enough while, read enough books and, instinctively, I just know that some of our base animal ways are bound to take over if we are at all honest and let them.

I gave out a lot of stars yesterday as I toured around Soho with friends in from out of town on the most beautiful of March days in NYC. So many artists at work in various ways, from selling awesome rock photos at the Morrison Hotel Gallery ( to creating kick-ass t-shirts at a street booth( to alerting visitors to the New Museum's new Skin Fruit exhibit to "not miss" a short movie on the stairwell between floors 2 and 3.

I'm glad I didn't miss that movie. Disturbing as it was, the explicit clay-mation depiction of a naked big-breasted woman wrestling around with many naked people trying to climb inside her was, like the New Museum itself, thought-provoking at the very least. I think, really, it was mind-blowing, this 6-minute film from Nathalie Djurberg, It's the Mother. I don't know if my guests agreed.

It just so happens, though, that I had posited the theory the other day that all of us, really, spend our lives trying to find a way back to the comfort we found in our mother's womb. It is not an easy get. Despite the relative ease in which Ms. Djurberg's clay creatures were able to crawl through the Mother in question's gaping hole, once in, grown, they were too big, it was too crowded, limbs went everywhere. It really didn't seem the solution people were looking for.

Down the stairs, into the next room, another possible answer was posited: a crucifixion. Pawel Athamer's Schedule of the Crucifix, provides a ready-made set for a daily Savior, complete with a ladder for an actor who comes in every day at 3:00 to climb up in his loincloth, sit on the bicycle seat, rest his feet on a foot rest, strap down his shoulders and grab the handles. Voila! Maybe THEN people will feel better...Again, though, no guarantees. The beauty of art and artistic endeavor is that one can explore these themes of what might and might not work, offer food for thought without actually coming up with definitive answers.

I pondered this over some delicious truffled cheese fries, a Chinois salad with grilled shrimp and a great glass of white wine. Hmmm. Maybe, in the end, food is what makes us feel better...

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