March 1st, 2004
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My friend David is a regular reader of the New Yorker,. Every once in a while he will pass along a favourite article, a little gem of some sort. I never know what it will be about but there is always a spark of inspiration for me in there somewhere. So yesterday when he handed me an article titled “Missing in Action”, I was instantly intrigued. It was about contemporary artist Lee Bontecou, a female sculptor who in the late sixties loomed huge in the New York artscene, amidst such contemporaries as Jasper Johns, Frank Stella, Roy Lischtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Claes Oldenburg. She was dubbed as one of the best artists working anywhere.
And then one day, she disappeared. Seemingly without a trace.
Surprisingly she reappeared in 2002, to do a retrospective show, of the last 30 years. It left people wondering, ‘what happened?’ Her work even better than before, it told a story of an artist who allowed herself to emerge in her own way. Untainted by the ‘art world’.
“So there it was–an artist like Bontecou didn’t need the art world, didn’t need the stimulation of seeing other art and testing her own against it, didn’t need to exhibit or discuss or sell her work in order to keep developing and expanding her talent. An artist like Bontecou could work in isolation for thirty years, and give up nothing, not even her basic sanity and sense of humor. “Being an artist is not a career, it’s just something that grabs you.” -fr. “Missing in Action”, Calvin Tomkins
To me this is a sign of a true artist, one who listens only to their own heart, and voice. And will shut out the loud tauntings of the outside world. To pay attention to the thing that is moving around inside them, and to give it a chance to flow out. How easy it is to be led by what the world wants of you instead of trusting yourself. Sometimes the amount of courage required to pursue that which you need is daunting.
but the universe urges us to walk through the world with our eyes open. when i start to drift off i recieve a little jolt, (ow). they become impossible to ignore.
o.k. i’m awake already.


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