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In the eye of the beholder — or not

Following Ingrid Bergman in Intermezzo: A Love Story by Pierre Bismuth. Photo from http://www.franklinstreetworks.org

Basil and I had a cultural experience last weekend, or as I prefer to think of it: An Hour of My LIfe I’ll Never Get Back.

He’s something of a Groupon and Living Social junkie lately, getting us deals on restaurant meals and deli orders. Always very proud of himself. This time, he had a deal on two sandwiches and two nonalcoholic beverages at what he thought was a deli in Stamford, CT.

All I’m sayin’ is that he should have paid extra for some booze, because the coupon was actually for the cafe of a new nonprofit art gallery down the street from where he thought the deli was.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no Velvet Elvis type of girl, and I have great appreciation for the fine arts and talent of all kinds. There are no Van Goghs in my home, however, just a couple of nice prints purchased on our honeymoon, landscape photos by our friend, Ken, and lots and lots of family pictures. (One of them — a portrait of my husband’s grandfather is packed away. The elder Basil seemed always to be watching us with the most dour expression.)

When I worked in the features department of The Advocate and Greenwich Time, we covered all kinds of art — sculptors, painters, even tattoo artists and a fellow who carved incredibly intricate designs using the lead of pencils (yes, you read that correctly).

The art at the Franklin Street Works was something entirely different. “Slipstreams” featured several contemporary installations on “the practice and shaping of time.”

There was “Time Clock Piece,” by Tehching Hsieh, a video depicting the artist punching a time clock, every hour on the hour for a year. He began the piece with his head shaved so that the passage of time could be seen in the growth of his hair.

“Following the Right Hand of Ingrid Bergman in ‘Intermezzo: A Love Story,’ ” is a 2009 marker pen on Plexiglas work in which artist Pierre BIsmuth juxtaposed scenes from the vintage movie with the drawn line.

Andy Warhol‘s film, “Empire,” created by mounting a camera facing the Empire State Building for 24 hours, was part of the show, as was Samuel Rousseau’s video installation, “Un peu d’eternite,” which used a candle and endless projection of a flame and was displayed on the gallery’s ground floor. (I held my breath while viewing this one because Basil, who remains ever curious, even at the ripe age of 56, had to get up close to the camera tripod to see if he could block the image of the flame with his hand. Fortunately, he didn’t knock anything over.)

Wouldn’t have heard it if he had, though, because droning on was Anna Lundh‘s “The Year is a Python that Swallowed an Elephant,” an audio/video installation that depicted minutes, hours, days, weeks and years in a variety of ways. In one case, hours were shown as a spray of dots. Days of the weeks were sometimes squares, wheels or rectangles — in one case even shaped like the letter D. You get the idea.

Back upstairs we found “Static,” neatly framed works by Stephen Sollins who takes Liquid Paper and permanent marker to newspaper TV schedules.

I confess, most of the works didn’t resonate with me. I was glad, however, to support the greater good of ART, and would certainly visit again if I found an exhibit more my style.

A few days ago, after I visited the gallery website, Basil and I were talking about the exhibit, and how it wasn’t my thing.

And my husband — the man who can’t follow a television program if it has flashbacks in it — said: “Upstairs was all about the passage of time and downstairs was about how time was depicted. Didn’t you get that?”

Um, no.

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About Terri S. Vanech

Wife, mother, communications specialist, Jazzercise instructor and recently reunited adoptee. I'm living out loud -- and trying to make it all work -- in midlife. Having a sense of humor sure helps.

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