Spiritual America (part 3)…

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This is “Docucolor 1” from the new series of paintings I’m working on.

If you’re around next Thursday, a few friends and I have drawings in: Night of 1,000 Drawings, A Benefit for Artists Space. 

I’m not sure what time I’ll be there.  It’s on the same night as at least 4 other openings/Christmas Parties I know of.

Gimme a call if you hit it.

Ok, here’s the third part in my blog review of the Richar Prince retrospective at the Guggenheim titled: Spiritual America.

The article is going through the sieve that is my genius editor-in-wife.  It promises to be much more coherent.

The thing that really kept, and keeps, me so interested in Prince’s work is probably best summarized in the exhibition’s title, “Spiritual America.”  I found myself continually comparing my own impressions of American spirituality and how it compares with what Prince has offered the public in this show.  My first reaction is, “Yeah-huh.” It’s easy to see Americans’ true spirituality as bad jokes and muscle cars.  We’re not a Christian nation and never were.  What we are (to the world) is advertising, consumerism and shallow relationships. My wife and I recently met a man from Belgium who said Americans have a reputation for being open to talking to everyone but never having a real relationship with anyone.  We said that he was probably right and promptly left.

On the other hand, I also want to react against Prince’s implication that there isn’t anything deeper or true in the spiritual lives of Americans.  I have seen some tremendously encouraging signs coming out of Christianity recently that reiterate this.  Humanitarian efforts to fight AIDS, feed the poor, and actually care for our environment are springing up all over the U.S. The spirituality that I know and grew up with isn’t about celebrity or distraction, it’s about communities in relationship, lifting each other up and meeting each other’s needs.

Maybe the resolution to these reactions is a reminder to keep them separate and let Richard Prince be right.  The concept of a “Spiritual America” is a joke, and perhaps we need to just admit it and move on.  So we’ve created a shallow, consumerist, rampantly destructive culture that’s self-righteous to boot.  The sooner we acknowledge the reality, the sooner we can work against it or to correct it.  In the end, I think Prince gives us a hard lesson that’s easy to swallow but difficult for us, individually and nationally, to digest.

and  This is why I recommend people see it.  It’s interesting work, visually, and it confronts issues about who we are.

PAX

-W

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