*quick note* I’m looking for one of the instruction booklets that Rudolph Stingel created for his retrospective at the MCA Chicago and the Whitney Museum in NY. If you happen have one and will sell it or photograph/photocopy it for me, you’ll get a special prize of awesomeness and gratitude.
So last weekend I went to the bi-annual CIVA (Christians in the Visual Arts) conference.
If you just rolled your eyes, hear me out…
It was dope.
You may know that I like to nerd out about contemporary art and…well…drink beer. I got to do both here (although we did have to wait and go off-campus for the beer). It turns out that I’m not the only one who enjoys this, apparently, as there were quite a few who motored through a severe lack of sleep to burn the candle at both ends.
OK, so here were some of the highlights and my guffaws:
– Miroslav Wolf was the opening keynote and is more like Dave Hickey than I thought.
As it turns out, we also shared the same dorm suite and of course I met him as he had just finished going for a run and the only thing I could muster enough genius to say was that I had left my running shoes behind. I suggest to those reading who don’t bother to inquire as to who your roommates will be, should you elect the economic option of a conference to share a suite, to prepare yourself with a question or two for the keynote speakers, in case you happen to run into them unexpectedly, say, in your room. I feel like I was tossed a golden opportunity (although for what, I don’t know…spontaneous rigorous theological debate?) and ducked.
– Dan Siedell was also a presenter. I actually had a question for him, but in keeping with my acts of genius, I failed to actually deliver it. What does hypostatic union mean anyway? You may have heard me recommend his book, God in the Gallery. I still do, even though he confessed that he would change about 90% of it today, if he could. It’s a book that needed to be written, especially for those who don’t have a background in art. I do, but I still find it useful. It was great to have the opportunity to meet him and talk. It turns out that we have a few friends and acquaintances in common.
– For me, one of the main highlights was connecting with people. I have friends in the organization I only see sparingly because of distance and these types of events are good for reconnecting. Also, it’s great to meet new people who have similar interests. The times outside the scheduled conference events ended up being as engaging as the conference itself. That’s where you can really hash things out, you know…in the lunch line. Seriously, from what it’s like to relocate and take on a full course load in rural Idaho to the challenges of working for an art superstar, an inquisitive mind (or in my case, a jerk) can learn a lot.
– The NY art discussion group (sponsored by CIVA) was re-formed at the conference to much raucous discussion. It turns out that we have opinions – strong ones. Shouting aside, we motored through a lot and had a great time.
So all that’s to say that it was worth it. I knew it would be, but it’s always a pleasant surprise when it proves true.
If you went, what did you think?
keep in touch.