Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Hole Lot of Dedication

It's one thing to view an inanimate work of art, to walk around it, think about it, maybe even touch it. It's quite another when human beings actually become their art.
Yesterday I promised to clear the air about the pumpkin man featured in this week's Zen Monday post. I first saw him on the path during New Town's On the Trail Of, a series of open-air art installations (plus this one bit of performance art) at Oak Grove Park last weekend.

Joseph Ravens and Taisha Paggett title their work I Think That I Shall Never See... and describe it thus: "A person, resembling an enormous solemn doll, carries a large shovel, seeking a perfect place for a hole, always searching, almost digging. A large-headed solemn doll struggles to carry a small tree, seemingly in search of the hole never dug."

I reacted with delight at seeing the "large-headed solemn doll" on the path. (If I hadn't known I was at an art event I might have felt differently!) And it was compelling to see the two of them struggle across the frisbee golf course amid the reactions of people out for an afternoon of frisbee and beer. Art like this--so unconventional, so demanding of both spectator and artist--speaks of the dedication of its creators.

Last weekend's event was funded by grants from Pasadena Art Alliance, the Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division. I wanted to mention them a second time and give links to these groups. Events like "On the Trail Of" are close to impossible without financial help. But this one was a success, and New Town is able to pay the artists thanks to such funding.

Yesterday I received an email from Rochelle Branch, Cultural Affairs Manager of the city's Cultural Affairs Division. She said, "Thanks so much for mentioning New Town's art installation and the support of Cultural Affairs. We are always appreciative of local support for our treasured arts and culture organizations and we are particularly pleased to have provided financial support for this program."

I love this town.

More photos on Overdog.

20 comments:

J+P said...

Used t'be they'd just have a marching band at halftime …

Unseen Rajasthan said...

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Shell Sherree said...

It's certainly a creative and adventurous undertaking. This one's just mildly disturbing me, as opposed to pumpkin man on his own. {And nope, I never go to scarey movies. You can see why.}

Petrea said...

J, some guy got out of his truck and said "What the F is that?" Then he felt bad because there were little kids there, so he got back in. But it shocked him.

I will check it out, Unseen, thanks.

Shell, since performance art isn't hanging on a wall it does shake one up a little. It's not the same as dance or theatre, though it involves those elements. It provokes a different reaction. And you can't just stand back and judge it coldly because you know it can see you.

HearkenCreative said...

Okay, now I love this. And, like you, I love our town.

It'd be even more interesting if they tried to do something like this in Old Town on a Friday evening...

toast said...

I don't know how I would have reacted if I saw these guys at the park and didn't know that they were performance artists and not crazies. The concept of the elusive "perfect spot" is intriguing, though, although the execution of the giant dolls is pretty eerie. But I'm pretty sure that was intentional, because since when was any bit of art unintentional? :)

mg said...

Oh, I think there is unintended art and accidental brilliance all over this place.

Hopefully the sweet spots don't get crushed before they've had a chance to emerge and be discovered.

Cindy said...

Great post.

Margaret said...

I'm really liking this series, Petrea. The artwork is so fun and lively. Is it still up? Or was this a weekend event?

Escapist said...

“The imagination imitates. It is the critical spirit that creates.”....

Petrea said...

Old Town Friday night! You do it, Hearken.

Most people were taken aback but respectful enough I think, toast. Your comment is interesting; I think I've created some unintentional art in my life but I didn't mean to.

Well said, mg.

Thanks, Cindy.

It was a weekend event, Margaret. But click on the New Town link. They've got something coming up in Eagle Rock later this month. I don't know what it'll be, but it won't be boring.

cieldequimper said...

Incredible. At first, I thought they were statues...

Escapist said...

I think it was problem with the template...
Thanku !!!

JM said...

This is fantastic! So unreal! :-)

Trish said...

The statues are interesting enough...but what caught my eye was the softball player in the background...walking onto the field as if there is nothing wrong with a a guy holding a plant and having lumps in his pants and some gal with a shovel spiked through her chest---out on the field!

Been a while since I've player there, but am quite sure they were not there when I played! (Ahem, just a fewdecadesago)

marley said...

That is just making my head hurt and I feel a little bit scared!

Insults said...

Love it!

Abe Lincoln said...

I am glad I am not looking at this as a drunk. I would swear their shoes are way too big.


See: Our Flower Pot.

Susan C said...

It's great to see "pumpkin guy" in the full context.

The orange shovel makes me want spray paint all my gardening tools. But I don't think I'll stick anything down my pants.

Ms M said...

Thanks for the follow up, "the rest of the story..."
Very interesting -- and I'm glad they were able to get funding to do it.