Art is an interesting thing, and it truly is in the eye of the beholder. We’ve been seeing this for the last two weeks in Los Angeles as “the Rock” (a 340-ton boulder) has made its way from a quarry in Riverside to the LA County Museum of Art, with an ever growing throng of supporters and onlookers. There have been true rock parties in places like Bixby Knolls and in the Fairfax district when the rock went through. Many people don’t understand how this is art. Still others, especially in articles, want to decry public expense and costs and officials that spend money on rocks (all without realizing that all the money to purchase and move the rock, as well as build the installation, was privately donated, and put lots and lots of people to work). But the people have fallen in love with this rock, just as they have fallen in love with other public art installations (I still remember the joy and wonder at Christo’s umbrellas in the Newhall Pass many many years ago).
Public art — especially natural public art — serves to inspire us. Through these installations, we are able to amplify the wonder of nature or to bring it home. I applaud LACMA for — perhaps unexpectedly — finding a way to remind people that art can excite in a way that a simple portrait never can.
Music: The Beatles (White Album) (The Beatles): Cry, Baby Cry