Damien Hirst said that “Art survives through its effect on others.” It makes sense that this comment would come from an artist who uses everyday materials in unusual ways to convey his message. Reading this quote brought to mind Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass, an installation on the grounds of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), which I experienced in April.
Often referred to as “the rock in LACMA’s backyard,” Levitated Mass is a very good example of the debate over what exactly constitutes art. Evaluated using Mr. Hirst’s criteria, Levitated Mass certainly qualifies.
It was fun and educational to stand along the wall and watch as people approached the walkway that leads under the rock. As guests first came upon the work, lots of comments and opinions issued forth, almost unprompted. But as people moved closer, passed directly underneath the piece, and came out the other side, all chatter ceased. A different mood descended. Visitors seemed awestruck by what they were experiencing, even though moments before they were thinking it was “just a rock.” After witnessing this effect on the visitors, I knew they would remember Levitated Mass long after their visit.
When I create each new piece of my artwork, I feel a sense of purpose. I focus on more than just the visual effect of the finished piece. I am also aware of the sense of place and the effect the Joomchi artwork will create when hung in a room. As an artist, I feel there must be a compelling reason to create the work – its “reason for being.”
I invite you to experience the effect art has on you the next time you visit a gallery or museum. You may find particular pieces more compelling than others. What elements in the work make it memorable for you?