I will admit I have a bit of TED talk problem. It’s related to the treadmill. I prefer to walk outside, but sometimes its cold and dark up here. While our treadmill is located in the Man Cave–also known as the least aesthetically pleasing room in the house–I do walk on it. I walk, and I watch my Ipad. If I am lucky, the TED talk I choose will give me something to mentally gnaw on for the day.
Last week, I watched Shea Hembrey: How I Became 100 Artists
Hembrey traveled through Europe looking at the major biennials and found them lacking. He decided to create his own biennial incorporating what he felt was missing. For Hembrey, amazing art possesses these three things.
HEAD, HEART, AND HANDS.
Hearing him say this was REALLY exciting for me.
Yes. That’s what it is about–head, heart, and hands. I’m thinking, he has got it. He is right.
The head presents interesting intellectual and conceptual ideas. The heart is all about passion and soul. And the hands are, of course, the makers of exquisite things.
He set out on a two year journey to embody 100 different artists who made 100 different works of art for his biennial. In the TED talk, he presents many of the artists’ work. Each artist (who is actually Shea) has their own take on what is art. Hembrey’s work is wildly creative and inventive and original.
I love this one by “artist” Nel Reynold. It is a 22 foot long mirror creating a sky hole in the ground.
Hembrey is a skilled painter. This piece is done with a single hair brush.
He is also very funny. This piece created by an “artist collective” called the Silver Dobermans is a cultural critique on how we are an over-coddled nation.
Another of Hembrey’s “artists” is Hazel Clasin. Clasin is an anthropologist who created a make believe culture. This is one of the founders of the culture who in real life is Hembrey’s Aunt.
All of this is amazing on a certain level. WOW. He made 100 works of art by channelling 100 different artists who reside within himself.
And all of this is disappointing.
I was really hoping to see HEAD, HEART, and HANDS.
But Hemprey’s work for this biennial was rarely about the heart and almost never about the hands.
I’ve pondered this all week. Why did that happen?
Here’s what I think.
Western society values science and the mind and probably money more than anything else. In some ways, I suppose we are hardwired for that. The HEAD does all of our thinking, so of course they THINK their work is the most important. The HEART is too kind to put up a fight, and the HANDS are too busy making to complain. So the HEAD struts into the middle of the stage and stays there.
It does not help that our academic art programs have bought the HEAD’s sale pitch.
It is my birthday today.
My birthday wish is that we all have a busy year creating wonderful things with our HANDS.
That our HEARTS are open and brave enough to share these things with the world.
And through these actions, our HEADS begin to understand that it really does take all three parts of ourselves to live well, to make art, to be a source of positive change.