Ed Massey: The Revivifying Artist as Intermingling Citizen (“Portraits of Hope”)

Sunday, September 25, 2022

For over 30 years I’ve been lucky enough to be able to entrust my teeth to the best dentist I’ve ever met. How good is he? The punchline is: “He’s the dentist dentists go to.” I live in Long Beach; his office is 30 miles north. It’s more than worth the drive. Needless to say, I only trust getting even the maintenance work done by a person who works at his office; and so it recently came to pass that I learned about the work of the artist Ed Massey.

He has been the featured artists in a PBS show, “Off the Wall,” and if you are feeling a bit worn down by the constant drone of news about the war in Ukraine and the latest contretemps of Trump’s ever shrinking inner circle, then watch this video. While it is more than slightly glib for me to suggest that it will leave you with a smile on your face, l am going to dare to say it anyway.


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In terms of the “definition” I posted in this blog just a while ago, “Art is the self-discipline of impeccable under-rehearsal.” In Massey’s case, that surfaces as his playfulness being willing to allow others to be participants, too.

Art has the clarifying alacrity of improvisation.

The alacrity of its improvisations clarifies rather than obscures by rapidly discarding that which is irrelevant, and focusing on the contingent essence brought into juxtaposition;


the over-rehearsed predictability of commodified reproductions of social life.


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