I know it’s been a month since I last blogged (forgive me Father, for I have sinned, it’s been a month since my last blogging) but work was being… extra work-y. The benefit of this long delay is I was unable to talk about the work trip I got to go on due to confidentiality agreement stuff but then the executives at my company announced that we won in the press so I can tell you all about my trip. I went to Bentonville, Arkansas! To pitch Walmart! It was a place! That I have been! It’s tough to come from the zestiness of New York to a place with a streetlight and a museum and a hotel and some restaurants and… not a whole lot else. I was sent out there to help design the pitch deck on site and then set up the meeting at the Walmart headquarters. The pitch itself was relatively uneventful but the hotel we stayed in was verrrrrry interesting. We arrived at the 21c Museum Hotel. Aside from the nice glass and metal bee it looked pretty much like a typical high-end hotel until you got inside. Then it got real artsy.
The theme for their exhibition was “Celebrities in Art.” Off to the side was a chandelier. Well, several chandeliers. And some lamps. And some wigs. It looked like something that would wash up on a beach after a massive house party went askew. I didn’t hate it though. I thought the icicles really made it work.
There was a coat filled with costume jewelry made by one of my favorite artists, Nick Cave, who I have mentioned before.
There was a cool wall installation that told some story or another but I liked it because it was very sparkly and covered with resin. Big fan.
There was a portrait of someone (I forgot to write down who it was) made by shooting bullets at Formica-covered particle board. Really cool idea.
Across from that was probably my favorite piece, a portrait of Obama. It was clearly one of those Wall Street Journal drawings blown up and rendered in parafin wax. I won’t lie – it doesn’t matter that it was Obama. It could have been anyone. I love those WSJ portraits and I love the way it was done with this gloppy wax technique. Five stars.
Off in the back was a small gallery room that had littler pieces. Like this photo composite made up of rolled paper in capsule containers.
And a 3D photo with the glasses sitting next to it. I tried them out. Totally worked.
Using what I assume to be acrylic or oil paint someone did pointillism of various objects surrounded by plastic roses. I dug these. I would totally have it in my home.
There was a mouth with blinky teeth.
And outside there was a mutated basketball hoop tree with lots of arms and a car covered with money. I finally remembered to take a picture of the informative plaque so we all can know why the car has money stuck to it.
The only piece I was really not on board with was the one directly behind the check-in desk. The idea is great – take old records, user a laser cutter to make silhouettes of people and insects and then make a collage on the wall. Great.
Yeah, except the artist decided to make the silhouettes either weird religious statements or pictures of porn stars, occasionally peppered with, I don’t know, a dragon. I wanted to say, “I love that you’re making some kind of statement and good for you but no. Just no.”
After perusing the whole exhibition I checked into my room and organized all my supplies. I decided to go to the hotel restaurant and have a nice dinner. I met the maître d’ and we had this exact conversation:
“Hello ma’am, will you be dining alone tonight?”
“Yes, thank you.”
“Is this an acceptable table?”
“Why yes, thank you.”
“And would you like a penguin joining you tonight?”
I thought about it for a second and then decided there was no downside to anything I could conjure up in my head so I said hell yeah I want be joined by a penguin. A waiter dragged a large, vibrantly green plastic penguin over to my table to sit next to me and look judgmentally at my food choices. I was thrilled.
I especially liked looking at the other people eating with their respective penguins. The penguins all looked like extremely green sommeliers.
I found out the hotel gift shop sold not only the penguins but a variety of other giant beasties. They were $2,000 otherwise I would most likely have one in my possession right now.
Then other stuff happened like I ended up in a meeting room for a bunch of hours working on the Walmart meeting deck and when I went to the Walmart headquarters I accidentally met the CEO and totally choked because I am a consummate professional. But I wanted to share the arty-art I got to experience.
Addendum: Outside the elevator on my floor, unrelated to the exhibition downstairs, was some cool young girl’s dresses with neat metal insect-like structures around them.
And in the gym, suspended from the ceiling, was a fat Batman. No idea why.