I scraped my installation off the gallery walls today. The ritual of taking it down was as important to me as putting it up, and for a while I was thinking it was going to take equally long. The glue dried really hard, and wasn't flaking off as I'd hoped. But I hit it with some hot water, let it soak for a few, and it came off easily.
I can't tell you how many people were upset about my taking it down without making an attempt to salvage it. That was never the point. From the start I wanted it to be contained within a time limitation, alluding to transience, the ephemeral, and need to let go. Sorta like the Tibetan monks who take weeks to create intricate sand mandalas, and then, after a sacred ritual, destroy the piece. It points to the impermanence of life, as well as the need to be fully present in the moment. I received many suggestions about doing my next installation in such a way that I could afterwards take it down and install it somewhere else. This has no appeal to me whatsoever. I'd sooner make T-shirts of my work and sell them at Wal*Mart.
There are always faster, easier, and more efficient ways for an artist to work. But then one has to ask: What is the point of making art? To pump out product? To minimize effort? To maximize exposure? Would all that lead to a disengagement with the process of creativity? And once the artist disengages from her work, doesn't everyone feel the vacuum? Don't we experience enough soul-sucking in our lives already?
I don't plan on doing another installation any time soon; I'm just going to stick to my works on paper for a while. But I'm so grateful to Kevin and Ellen for taking a leap of faith and letting me do the installation in their gallery. After all, they had no idea what it was going to look like, nor did I. I'm also grateful for the people who came to the show and were so supportive, as well as those who were supportive from afar. Thanks, everyone. Y'all rock.
Above: The Book of Revelation, Post-Apocalypse. This version is for folks with ADD.