Thursday, February 28, 2008


There are few places left in the world that have avoided the inevitable. Surely, the potential developer thinks, this should be a Home Depot parking lot or an overpriced, contemporary apartment complex with "green" features and a built-in california vegan bistro for the conscientious, young money makers-all with a stunning panoramic ocean view... The Marin Headlands is one of these places which has remained intact. Situated on a bare, shrubbed, and hilly outcropping of land between the Pacific and the San Fransisco Bay, this place has a humbling scale that makes one feel they might be the last folks on earth as they pass through it. If you've crossed the Golden Gate Bridge heading north, you've driven by them. Seperated by a couple of mountains from the rest of the Bay area's massive sprawl, John Muir, legendary environmental activist (along with some sorcery, surely) kept the Marin Headlands preserved and free of our consumer needs. However, it does harbor the Headlands Center for the Arts, which is a jewel amongst art residencies. Kendra, Osa, and I took a little field trip to explore what is happening in this quiet place which is churning out loud and potent and funny and thoughtful art by people from all over the world. What we found affirmed our notions that this is a special place. The bathrooms are kept bare boned and institutional yet they have video performance pieces set up in the corners and toilet installation art that would have made Duchamp himself envious. Much of the original integrity of the buildings (formerly a fort) has been left intact and therefore has a worn, layered effect where one can imagine the shoe soles striking the stairs and the countless hands pushing doors to studios open- all of which exposes layer after layer of it's history. The kitchen was designed by Ann Hamilton. There are two light filled galleries across the hall from one another. These galleries support the work of the resident artists. Some of our favorites included an ariel view of a few blocks in San Fransisco made out of jello built atop a light table which made all the colors of jello buildings glow and edges soften in the warmth. There was also a trio of life size deer made entirely out of irish spring soap, bringing to mind certain gardeners' solutions for keeping deer out of their flora. This large rainbow on the floor is the result of the artist's and friends' gatherings from one day on a beach nearby.
So much of art becomes product for sale. It is refreshing (and intimidating) to see art that is made without consideration of compensation. Instead, making something simply to communicate, which at the end of the day is the point often missed.

1 comment:

tracy said...

Okay, that's the best use of jell-o I've ever seen!