State of Mind

Over Christmas break while staying with family in Newport Beach we spent an afternoon at the Orange County Museum of Art. Their featured exhibit was “State of Mind: New California Art Circa 1970“. There was a wide variety of photography, film, sculpture, and experimental/process art.

The collective was attempting to break away from the status quo and push back against what they saw as commodification in the art world and society at large. They recognized a problem with our culture; people are broken and trying to fix themselves with things. We were sending thousands of young men to die in Vietnam. Women were gaining respect but still objectified. Yet life is still, somehow, in some ways, beautiful. It deserves to be examined, cherished, explored, tested.

I resonated with the artists’ frantic sense of optimism. They recognize that things are not as they should be in the world, yet each one put their own meager contribution into helping others see beauty in it.

Even this absurdist piece from the lobby-recording the sound ice makes as it melts-was quirky and interesting. It is silly, yes. But it is also a reminder to look/listen/think about the minutiae of our lives we ignore or no longer see. Does ice actually make a sound as it melts? What else might be whispering to me faintly every day that I do not hear?