Art among the rubble

I was supposed to drive to Berkeley today, two hours away, to see my friend Matt, a former student who I think the world of. I wanted to show him the amazing, wonderful art show out in the marshlands, atop a landfill. A group of people named SNIFF have been making art with found objects out there for a long time. It's not cutsey, it's gritty and bawdy, but it IS art in a big sense of the word. It's inspired.

So anyway, I slept badly because once again, in defiance of the nature spirits, I have insisted on walking in the land of poison oak with my dogs, and as punishment, I am covered in itches in the most nasty places, like my eyelids, behind my knees and the undersides of my arms. My face. My everywhere. And so I slept fitfully and was tormented mightily by demons of itchiness.

I got up and took benadryl and then I felt like I imagine chemotherapy feels; all hollow and fried and on edge. Didn't want to do anything, least of all drive and drive, but finally I made myself leave.

The plan had two other components; to walk the dogs while exploring said art, and to photograph the art, because it is out in the open, and won't last forever, so I want to document it to share with others, because it's so amazing. I went one other time, but the light was terrible, glaring right into my camera, the nerve! and I didn't have a good camera then, and then the battery died.

I set out and traffic was just horrendous, and then it started to rain, and then it started to pour. And the traffic went from horrendous to 'parking lot.' I got drowsy and had to pull over and get coffee, and the only coffee was in a cigarette store and it came in a styrofoam cup and was just gross and I was a miserable wretch and I ITCHED. Yes, without being really life-threatening my day was managing to feel like its own special hell, the kind that happens to middle class white girls in consumer-oriented democracies, not the real hell that leads to maiming or loss of life, not like that.

Got to Berkeley in almost twice the time it usually takes, almost four hours, and it was still pouring. Managed to find Matt and his girlfriend, Kara, stuff them into my VW bug with three dogs, and make our way through Friday afternoon rush-hour traffic to this special place called the Berkeley Bulb.

And suddenly everything changed, as if I had passed some magical test and it was time for my reward. The rain stopped. We started our walk out to the point along the water, and the air smelled like fennel because it grows wild there, along with wild mustard and phlox. Matt and Kara were instantly enthralled, and sharing a special place with friends who 'get it' really amplified the pleasure and magic of it.

We walked and the dogs romped and cavorted. Mrs. Beasley walked about the same amount as we humans, Bunny ran back and forth, going about double the distance we did, and Bosco dashed madly everywhere all at once, and must have covered ten miles for every one we walked.

We found a whole sculpture area I had never seen before, full of amazing sights, especially a magnificent bigger-than life-size figure of a winged man about to take flight. Icarus? Gabriel?

We visited the paintings and the other sculpture area, and Matt found a small clubhouse right on the edge of the water, overlooking the whole Bay. Now I'll stop writing and let the photos speak.

Needless to say, I drove home in much better spirits.

I'm not ready with the photos of the SNIFF paintings yet, but here are some from our outing, including some of the sculpture, and later interlude in Berkeley late at night.


Blogger Randa said...

"...its own special hell, the kind that happens to middle class white girls in consumer-oriented democracies..." Oh wow; the best line EVER. As for the raison d'etre for the excursion, I am absolutely in LOVE with the first two sculptures. FanTAStic.

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Landmark said...

Yep, Daedalus would be proud of the first sculpture.

thank you for sharing,

and I hope you go on more expeditions of art.

7:57 PM  
Blogger KnitAbout said...

i love your blog. i love your profile. i love this post. your dogs rule. the art rules. i relate.
-still stuck in traffic

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Dentists Gainesville said...

Those are wonderful...great pictures as well.

11:07 PM  

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