As a card carrying member of Generation Y, I have no need to enter an art gallery. My card, by the way, is a coffee card as my generation saturates bottomless mugs with über-caffeinated espresso beans and inhales the joe like sweet ambrosia from the sweat of Zeus. Even if someone in my cohort did enter an art gallery, it would likely be to refill their coffee or, at best, would be a virtual art gallery accessed from the safety of their Google portal.
Tomorrow night I am going where only the most ironic hipsters of my generation have ventured before: a bona fide art gallery. And before you raise objections, I am not going for extra credit, for money, or to impress a significant other. No, instead I am going on an appointment-only tour of Chicago’s Antena project space to see their current installation Renovation Creep (search archives when link goes out of date).
A collaboration of three artists, Daniel Bruttig, Joe Cassan, and Erin Thurlow, Renovation Creep is described as, “simultaneously material and ephemeral,” while illustrating the, “haunted, transitory nature of urban apartment dwelling” (AntenaPilsen.com). With sections devoted to “History,” “Palimpsest,” “Patina,” and “Labyrinth,” (I think) the installation intervenes into our notions of urban consciousness and architectural anthropology.
Now two things about this post are problematic. One, I haven’t yet been to this art gallery so I am not experientially equipped to offer an evaluation. Second, my vocabulary does not include half the words in the description of the installation and leaves me running to the dictionary to decode terms like “Palimpsest” and “Patina”. So why am I assuming this pretentions hipster pretense with a pre-review? It’s because I want to animate that moment of anticipation that we too often neglect.
As I anticipate my gallery experience tomorrow, I conjure images of choreographed urban decay and fabricated apartment furnishings. I imagine the intimidating literacy of my tour guide and the transparency of my artistic ignorance. I imagine how the installation will surprise me with its intricacy while disappointing me with its artifice. Finally, I imagine going home and entering my urban home with a new recognition of the apartment as a historical labyrinth.
All these predictions may prove pathetically off. I may completely misunderstand the exhibit and walk through like a lost child desperately searching for familiarity in a foreign shopping mall. Maybe my tour guide will be a frat brother with a keen interest in art. Or maybe I’ll never even make it to the art gallery and instead rush home to my Google. At minimum I hope this last outcome does not pan out.
My point is that we need to collectively spend more time in an anticipatory paradigm. Let’s make assumptions and recognize them. Let’s write them down. Then let’s enter an experience and allow ourselves to be challenged and to see where the chips fall. Let’s ultimately learn to test ourselves. It’s an exercise that will shift our assumptions and inspire our ultimate assessments.
Of course, you can write this off as the misguided ramblings of a fledgling blogger. Maybe that’s what I anticipate. But at least I did. We’ll see in your comments and in my review in the coming days.