This past weekend I made it into San Antonio for the First Friday exhibitions at the Blue Star Contemporary Art Complex. I have a friend who was exhibiting a multimedia installation at a Blue Star location called Three Walls.
Who knows what motivations Derrick Durham (the artist) had behind building a replicated blue dumpster filled with garbage, electronic equipment and himself, ominously titled "Ghost Receptacle", but the responses ranged from the dumbfounded to the suprised. The opening exhibit offered viewers a chance to see the artist at work inside the refuse container via a peep-hole located at the front of the installation, a view into a metaphorical studio, perhaps. The term "Purity" was dressed throughout the exhibit and even offered guests the opportunity to scrap away at two charcoal drawings of the dumpster, hand drawn by the artist, with hardwire brushes, the instructions "scrub until pure" annointing them in small lettering on the wall. Occasionally, the viewers, standing within the vacinity, were startled by the ejection of crushed beer cans and even hand drawn messages of artwork by the hidden artist, dispersing them from a trap door. In the finale, the artist himself was ejected in a climax of volcanic porportions which sent garbage of all classes spilling into the gallery floor.
The intent of Mr. Durham's Ghost Receptacle appeared to be a charge of awareness in the importance of recycling, a necessity within the maintenance of purity, a noble earthly cause. For me, I took away a different notion. A notion that seemily states, regarding our times of instant want and gratification, in our quick fix it and think of it later world, which is: If the artist manifests himself as equvilant to garbage, what might that say about the viewers of the artworld, whom are ultimately, for artists, the representation of the greater good? Are they able to comprehend good art from bad art? Moreover, what does it say about the spirit of mankind who makes bad things good and good things bad?
All in all, I believe great art raises great questions. Great art, like a great question, challenges the psyche of the mass public to comprehend not only what is being said, but what exactly the future holds, a sort of tuning fork or compass, for example. Derrick Durham's exhibition of "Ghost Receptacle" at Three Walls was layden with such analogies, for those who can tolerate art long enough to interpret it.