Monday, March 25, 2013

I went to LACMA. I stood in a large, mostly empty room. I stood on that room's glossy black wooden floor and I stared at the giant Clyfford Still painting they had hanging on the wall. I thought about how it's one of my favorite Clyfford Still paintings, and then I thought about how I'd never seen it before, so it couldn't be one of my favorites. I had a false memory. I have them a lot. Sometimes I have to find my reflection in things to remember that I have a body. Sometimes I have to accept my false memories as true so that I can make sense out of certain things. Like how I stood in a mostly empty room at LACMA looking at a painting many people I love must have seen before, even the people I love who are no longer alive. I found the one Cy Twombly they have on display. It is not my favorite Cy Twombly. I looked for my favorite Cy Twombly even though I know it's in some back room storage at MoMA in NYC. I looked for you and I found you everywhere, because you will always be everywhere for the rest of my life, even though you will be nowhere, always. I remember the day Cy Twombly died. I remember what you said. I remember the day you died. I thought of Cy Twombly.

I found a corner of Donald Judd in LACMA. I found scraps of John Chamberlain. I found Walter De Maria spread out on the concrete floor of a single room. I found him pretending to be a field, a farm, when really he was just 2,000 polygonal solid plaster rods on the manicured cement earth. I walked outside and found Michael Heizer, gouged again, a hole in the ground, a canyon where none used to be, this time something present instead of something absent at the place where each canyon reaches its lowest point and threatens to swallow its viewer into itself. I went to LACMA looking for peace, and I found the desert, and I found ghosts of my friend, my friend present enough in his lifetime that he left myriad ghosts in his wake. I found everything and nothing that'd I'd seen before, last summer, during three weeks in my car in the desert searching for the kind of art people make fun of you for searching for.

I found a lot of shadows of art.

I found a lot of reflective surfaces and a lot of light and a lot of awkwardness and a lot of screens.

I found a lot of architecture.

Outside the museum, I found tar. Before I even set foot in the museum, I spent at least half an hour clinging to a chain link fence, watching the earth bubble up and pop onto itself, a thick black that became a thin yellow that returned to a thick black.

But what I mostly found was repetition. But repetition with holes in it. Like a sentence repeated but slowly losing its punctuation. Does that even count as change? Does a lost comma negate a pattern? Is anyone in this museum? Is anyone I'm looking for in this museum with these bricks and this wood and this screaming for screaming's sake?

I will go to every museum until I no longer resemble this shape.

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