Friday, July 23, 2010

Favorite Things Fridays: Temporary Masterpieces

I am using the word "masterpiece" liberally.  What I mean to say is that I enjoy spending time, energy, and love to do things that will bless if only for a moment (even if that moment lasts a couple hours/days).  Case in point:  I am typing this post while in-between batches of chocolate cups setting in my freezer.  In a few hours, I will peel the foil off those chocolate cups, fill them with field-fresh blueberries, and serve them with joy at the marriage celebration of Erin and Gil (Congrats you two!!)

I enjoy spending an hour or two crafting a lovely meal to display on the table only to be devoured shortly thereafter.  The boys and I have spent hours drawing with sidewalk chalk knowing full-well the rain is coming.  I write messages on the beach proclaiming my love of kin.

This reminds me of the development of temporary art (here's an interesting artist who happens to be from here in Eugene - see picture at right, sourced from the linked article).  However, this is hardly a contemporary development.  Disregarding the culinary temporary arts, which have been around as long as people have been eating and sharing food with one another, the buddist monks have been doing temporary art for centuries.  I have not researched this topic at all, but I would not be surprised to find out that temporary art has as long a history as mankind (of course, in the scope of history, all art is temporary, no?)  Let's face it, the most joy is often found in the process.   Action is where living happens.  Static art, while I love to view it, is much harder for me to create.

There is balance to my delight in temporary art.  Generally speaking, I do not like to spend more time creating something than it will take to destroy/consume it - unless the joy from the destruction/consumption is so great that it makes it worthwhile (complicated domino trails might qualify)

Perhaps I am not making sense but I am up past my bedtime.  There is chocolate cooling in my freezer, and melted on my stove, and I have to get back to work!  Perhaps some of you readers will be able to help me destroy this creation later today.


  1. I am really interested in temporary art. One of my favorite pieces (which I should write a blog post about) is a memorial to dead cyclists that is on the bike path in Gainesville, Florida. The artists had people across the country send bike parts from accidents involving their loved ones. Then he made a stone memorial with those parts, so that when you pass it at night, you see reflectors, etc. (I'm tired and not describing this well). He used stone so that it would degrade over time, and as it degrades, various parts will come loose, echoing the accidents.

    There are also various artists (performance and otherwise) who work in this medium. I remember one exhibit a friend told me about that involved filling a room with a massive quantity of fresh flowers, which would then only last a certain span. I could go on and on about this!

    There is exquisite beauty in the temporary, since we are aware that we have to enjoy that beauty while it exists.

  2. The Cyclists' Memorial is a wonderful tribute! That is a great idea. Your mention of the fresh flower display reminds me (for some odd reason) of the parade floats I used to think were AMAZING as a small child. I was always mesmerized by the ones made simply of flowers (albeit large quantities of flowers).

    "[W]e have to enjoy that beauty while it exists." That is so true. That is why, if I owned fine China, I would use it daily =)

  3. I really like this post - my mind is ruminating. I, too, enjoy the concept and the reality of temporary art. I refer to the Buddhist mandala's often, especially after a particularly delightful meal. Cut flowers are some of my favorite temporary art - a gift I enjoy giving because the receiver can enjoy, then return them to the earth via compost pile.

    God is the greatest author of temporary art - seasons and every living thing and snow that melts and suns that set and rise.

    Seems like I should ponder this some more - there is lots to see.


  4. Cherie - I feel like meals are a true art. Our families should share one this summer! I too love fresh flowers. I wasn't even thinking of all of nature/God's temporary arts! The seasons! Each day! Each human story! It is no wonder we find delight in making temporary masterpieces of our own.

    There is much more to ponder for me too. Thank you for your comment that sends me into deeper reflection.

  5. Great post Marianne. This is really resonant.

  6. Thanks Kristen! May your week be filled with temporary masterpieces.