final thoughts on the mini green, or learning to let go

well, it’s been a little over two weeks since the opening of contemporary masters, and lisa and i have begun a completely new adventure: moving to the virgin islands. this permanent move (lisa is already there, i leave july 15) has been enough to take my mind off the golf hole for a while, but my friend tiffini just posted a link to some photos of a recent utah museum of fine arts/young benefactors event held on the course, and it brought my attention back to my piece.

the basic gist of my train of thought: the piece is trashed. seeing how it fares the thwacking clubs and clumsy feet of the general public began to make me sick to my stomach the very night of the VIP opening. lisa and i spent much of our time on the two opening nights trying to re-fluff parts that were trampled, re-insert pieces that were kicked off, and to pick up pieces that were just ruined. when we weren’t doing that, we were avoiding the hole altogether so we didn’t have to see it happen. it was such a conundrum: i hated to see people blaze through, unaware that they were damaging the piece; but i didn’t want to be the fussy, hovering, panicking artist, either.

so i decided to let go. it’s a public art piece, and it now belongs to the salt lake art center, so it’s no longer my baby, right?

but letting go hasn’t been easy. i’ve laid awake at night thinking of how i could have better secured the stalagmites and flames. as you can see in the photo below, the flames are all piled up and flattened next to the inner perimeter. but even if they had been better secured as most of the stalagmites were, it seems they still would have been simply flattened. stepped on. PEOPLE!!! why the hell are you STEPPING on delicate, tall, soft things? i can see how you might not think twice about stepping on the water, as it’s so low to the ground. but, here i go, getting all out of sorts about it again.

when i look at the picture above, i see that a cloud has been pulled off the outer perimeter, where it was screwed on. i see grass in the earth. a rock in the core. the piles of dirtballs seem to have come disconnected and migrated over to a different edge. in another photo, not included here, i can see that a felted fireball has ended up in the earth area. it was tacked down well; all i can think is that it was thoroughly smacked by someone’s club (or foot). seems nobody really reads signs.

so, moving on from the bitching stage, i arrive at the analytical stage. this has been a huge learning experience for me. i see some of the other holes in the show, and many were made to withstand the masses much more successfully than mine.

question no.1: can fiber art be successful in a venue like this?
i don’t know. i’ve made interactive fiber pieces before, but they were interactive in a different way. i don’t think i thoroughly grasped the light-spirited competitiveness that would encompass this show. people — even people who love and respect art — play these holes like they would at any kitschy mini golf course in the country. i think they are expecting the holes to roll with the punches. and, really, i should have taken that in to consideration.

question no.2: what could i have done differently to ensure a less delicate piece?
the carpets seem to be wearing extremely well, and the sand trap and flowers and water, too. in hindsight, i think i should have clumped the more delicate obstacles off to the sides, as far out of the line of fire as possible, and definitely secured them with much more thread/wire/glue/screws/you name it. the course should have been easier, with wider spaces to navigate clumsy feet through.

question no.3: can i let go?
i think i can. the 337 project purchased the piece; it’s now theirs, to do with as they please. i had imagined docents wandering through the show making sure players didn’t forget they were playing on works of art, or jared or stefan fluffing and primping the pieces throughout the day to make sure they were staying “fresh.” i know my piece isn’t the only one that has sustained damage. but this is an interactive show. it needs to babysit itself, to a certain extent.

in the end — and especially as i was watching people play the course, laughing and having a blast — the point of this show is to get people out to experience contemporary art in a way they never have before. in this light, it has already been a super successful show.

yes, it’s really hard, as an artist who has spent so, so, SO much time on the piece, to see it change (i was going to say “deteriorate,” but that would assume it’s worse, not just different). it is difficult for me to see the piece in any way other than how i conceived it, so it’s a challenge. i like challenges. i like growing and learning. i never expected that the end result of participating in this show would be an opportunity for me to practice living in the present… but then again, i’m never surprised at how the universe opens doors for me anymore.

i want to thank the entire 337 project and salt lake art center for providing this opportunity, and want to make it very clear that none of my above rantings implicate them in any way regarding the changing state of my golf hole!

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by cindy tomayko (aka mum) on 07.06.2010 at 14:59

    yes my dear lovely artist daughter, you need only spend a few afternoons on a public golf course to witness the disrespect the pristine fairwarys endure ;( trampled or not your piece is a reflection of the perfect artist in you. as all art does, your work succeeded in eliciting many emotions. a job well done. xoxo mum


  2. thanks, mum! and a note: my friend laura sharp wilson said she played the course a week ago, and that my piece looked fine. laura is an amazing artist and i completely trust her aesthetic, so it’s good to hear!


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