Friday, June 23, 2017
Something about the term contemporary arts has always made me uneasy, maybe I just didn't understand it or was not sure quite what it applied to. Perhaps it was too vague for a person like me who likes his labels and genres to be neat and tidy. It could be a 60's BBC2 (as was) or Sunday supplement stigma of elitism that I've applied to it. It could be I'm just a bit dumb or stubborn when it comes to certain terms and of course the world of art is full of them and is up it's own arse for a great deal of the time anyway. My poor education hasn't helped. I strangled my own arts career at birth thanks to failing to listen and failing to act as a teenager, you don't easily get over that. Then, when I finally hit a college there was no art in sight, just the saner and steadier worlds of statistics, accounts and law underpinned by a dose of management theory and beer. In retrospect I learned next to nothing and relearned only how to be comfortable in a cocoon of relative ignorance. There I was almost happy.
Now I'm past all that, easy in my own skin and though not well read I'm slightly better read. Truth and knowledge have dripped down onto me like some steady Chinese water torture. All I had to do was be still and let it run past me. Time alive is the best education and so when I sat in a Contemporary Arts Centre yesterday, supping weak tea from a tiny cup and fancy little tea pot I felt no pain or shame. I just blended in, bemused by the backgrounds, the unfinished nature of things, the gift shop mentality, the posters and bills for shows I'll never attend, the glossy pamphlets and flyers, the eager young staff, the conversations and illicit encounters. It's all washing over my head like a life only dreamed and not lived but I'm comfortable with that.
Graduation day, Caird Hall Dundee. Last time I was there Led Zeppelin were playing and it was 1971. Time passes way too quickly I'm afraid.