Sunday, December 12, 2010

Out of Our Depth: Turner, Painting, Drowning, Swimming Pools, and Meaning

If you read as much about art as I do, things that seem unrelated on the surface tend to pool together in the eddies of my consciousness. Two unrelated concepts that recently flowed together into a confluence were Sarah Monks’ essay, “Suffer a Sea Change”: Turner, Painting, Drowning, and Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica and filmmaker Neville D'Almeida’s 1974 collaboration CC4 Nocagions (above) in MOCA’s Latin American art exhibition Suprasensorial. Monks explains how J.M.W. Turner’s sea paintings dipped into the Romanticism of the era, specifically the idea that the ocean depths symbolized the depths of the human imagination. Oiticica and D'Almeida’s artwork consists of a swimming pool ringed in neon in which patrons can swim and join in the performance. Putting those two concepts side by side, I couldn’t help but wonder if we as a culture have gotten out of our depth, specifically the ability to do something other than skim the surface of meaning. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Out of Our Depth."

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