Saturday, October 16, 2010

Art - is not a crime.

Today I went to light art installation at the San Jose Museum from the artist Leo Villareal.

Mr S. started recording one of he installations on his Palm Pre. We were immediately informed we couldn't take pictures past that point. These days I am generally mixed about this request. I paid admission. I'm not using flash and disturbing other visitors.

To be honest - I get so used to being told I can't take pictures, I almost take it as a challenge. I sort of hate feeling that way. But I do. It seems like anyone with a cell phone can whip in all the shots they want. Because I take out a camera with a lens, people get their panties in a bunch.

Anyway. Taking pictures of bright objects in dimly lit rooms is at the higher end of challenging. I was trying to get a few shots on the down low. Until I saw a guy with a higher end camera just walking around. So I felt more bold.

One of the installations was a room that was completely dark with a light installation on the ceiling. They had lounge chairs. I was trying to get some long exposures, and get my fstops set right. I debated getting out my remote trigger so my pictures all didn't wind up like the one above. Of course a tripod was out of the question. I'm glad I'd abandoned that idea before I even went in.

Right about this time some guy in black walks in and says "I want to make sure you aren't taking any pictures in here". Then walks out. I start to put my camera away and then figure I'll try to get one more shot in. But, I was too nervous.

We went to look around the rest of the works. This is the point it gets a little funny - because the minders followed me around like I was a shop lifter. They stalked me the whole time. Because in their mind - I am a shoplifter.

I kind of have to roll my eyes at the whole thing. Artists are always complaining that art needs to be given to the world. Yet the minute you try to share it with the world they become hypocrites. Especially funny in this case since this guy was a burning man artist. Counter culture supreme.

Mr S. says that if people take pictures of their crap - no one will want to come see it. Which I completely disagree with. I never would have paid 16 bucks to see this stuff today, which was only mildly interesting - if I hadn't seen pictures from his work in New York.

If you are interested you can see vids here and here. But honestly - its not that great.


  1. Yeah, I don't get the choke hold on photos thing. Same with youtube. Companies get all bent if you post their precious "copyrighted" songs, but i've purchased no less than four CD's because of songs I heard on YouTube. It's not copyright's freakin' advertising.

  2. Totally - advertising.

    Especially if you can get someone who will make your stuff seem more interesting than it is for free.

    I don't know how many times I've gone to see something and was disappointed because someone took a few good shots. The photographer sure made it look good though.

    Not that I'd be able to do that - but, I'd like to think I can. ;)