Sunday, November 13, 2011

Savannah: Moss and Global Art

Spent two full days in Savannah this week, checking out the arts scene and admiring the local flora. There's copious amounts of Spanish moss hanging off of pretty much everything about town, even more then I remember from my childhood visits to Louisiana.  The old town is filled with small parks and old trees that are absolutely gorgeous.  I spite of the cool weather and walkability of the streets, I did spend a large amount of time indoors trolling for art.  I hit two of the Telfair museums on the first day, the contemporary Jepson Center for two current exhibits and the Telfair Academy which houses a modest permanent collection. On the second day I made it to SCAD's new museum, an impressive new complex with equally impressive hand dryers. Liza Lou on view with Kehinde Wiley, and Bill Viola, featuring a video that I actually like quite a lot but can't seem to get away from. (I first viewed "The Crossing" in Warsaw, Poland.) Not to disparage any of the artists, but it seems you can travel to any major city across the planet and see the same things over and over.  It's great in some ways to give every towns a chance to host all the big names, but the names of the contemporary art elite also become brands as inescapable as Coca Cola, The Gap, or Mc Donald's.   It leaves me to wonder if museum curators aspiring to global relevance are left with less choice on what to stock than the manager of a Disney Store outlet. Yet, it was the first time I witnessed a Wiley in person, so it was an opportunity to intersect with another New York artist outside a Chelsea venue--effect achieved.   But this too, is hypocrisy, as blogging big names only serves to establish my cred as an educated art viewer.  Time might be better spent giving props to the Jepson Center for a nice show of a local artist, Besty Cain, or reporting that the Telfair Academy had a curious amount of snow paintings like the one by George Bellows.  Digressions aside, it was a great little trip and Savannah is a city I'd love to visit again anytime.
The last picture is from the flight home, which was amazingly clear.  Perhaps why I was having such a removed perspective about Manhattan.....

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