Wed May 9 2007
If you're not an Anglophile, like me, you probably haven't had the desire to pick up last week's Time Out London and read a fairly hilarious, and I imagine accurate, account of columnist Michael Hodges's journey through the booming art scene in East London. The self-proclaimed "virgin" to the field makes a relevant point about the contents of the galleries he visits..."There is a good chance that you will not recognise the art as art...."
I can relate all too well.
I was a contemporary-art virgin myself until last week, when my cherry was popped with the prick of the metaphorical henna tattoo gun. And until today, I've been dealing with the overabundance of reactions to the seemingly ominous phrase written backward on my head. With the exception of some hilarious feedback, most people have either stared with passing interest, or asked me, "What the hell is that?"—much as, I can attest, novices often look at contemporary art in various Chelsea galleries...hence my feeling like a walking exhibit for about five days. Now that the tat is all but gone, I find myself missing the inquisitive stares that I preferred to think of as they're-checking-me-out glances.
The most surprising thing of all? How quickly the henna faded—and without any added scrubbing (fair enough, soap and water). It's probably a testament to the phrase itself—at some point or another, everything will be taken away—and likely provokes enough thought as to warrant being dubbed "art" by those in the know. As for a neophyte like me, I'm just happy to have my forehead back.