Friday, October 04, 2013

The Conceptualization of Concrete

There is an article in the Arts Section today that triggered some (unrelated) thoughts.  The article (LINK) describes a new show in New York by Los Angeles Artist Christ Burden.  (Note to all: This isn't a complaint or whine - just an observation  set off by an emotion to a photograph).
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The article had a number of pictures and this particular one that captured my interest.
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These are essentially uniform cardboard models of submarines, one for each submarine built by the United States until it was completed (1987).  Nice.
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But more than the piece, I was struck by the stark beauty of the concrete.  It isn't a uniform grey, but the shades are muted.
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And I realized, for the millionth time, I love the aesthetic of concrete.  I notice this looking at "modern" homes back east as well.
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This is just a picture of a random concrete modern house, I have never seen before.  I typed "concrete modern house" into google - and a score or more showed up.  I love them.
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Now I know part of my aesthetic here is cultural.  Wooden houses, in my mind, are associated with old tymee; passed down along with shawls, afghans and the odd quilt - along with generations of family history.
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I don't want a house with generations of family history.  Family history tries to define and constrain you.  Concrete offers a neutral palette for you to dream on.
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And, of course, even without my emotional baggage, wood burns.  How many times do you watch wooden houses go up in flames before you associate them with danger.  I can tell you - in Los Angeles, about a half-dozen times a year for 41 years (given 5 years I was too young to watch, 6 years in New York and 2 fire seasons in San Francisco or London) so let's say 246 times I have watched multiple wooden houses go up in flames on television.  
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You know what you never see?  A concrete house going up in flames.
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And floors.
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I love concrete floors.  I'm not even talking beautifully cone concrete floors, even basic grey concrete gives me that spartan warmth feeling which wood floors give off to most people.
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My aesthetic isn't found back here, and I understand that.  I don't even really mind - Ed and I are embracing the culture we see.  But I do miss it sometimes.

1 comment:

Modern Guy from Wisconsin said...

I am SO right there with you on the conrete AND modern aesthetic.