Thursday, March 31, 2016

Unintentional Art

My cousin Reuben does this thing he calls "unintentional art." I really hope he compiles all his photographs into a book someday because they are often stunning. On his website, he explains:

"Since 2013, Bechtold has curated a weekly art series that features art made by no one, or by nature, or otherwise by divine accident. This series challenges the viewer to consider why life compells us to make art, and why art can make us see life, and the objects in our lives, differently."

I know that #unintentionalart has certainly challenged me to see life differently, as I walk to work to look around me, to seek out beauty in "ugly" places - in heaps of trash, paint spilled on the sidewalk, a pile of old tires. It's easy to see beauty in the accidents of nature, much harder to find it in the accidental byproducts of human activity.

But it is there: an oddly lyrical line of a rusty wire, a pleasing composition of nuts and bolts. Moss growing on a cracked skylight. Candle drippings in the park.

I think sometimes Reuben is secretly laughing at the irony of these beautiful byproducts that rival the most high-brow and earnest efforts of serious artists - not to discount the hard work of artists we know and love. But it's kind of funny, isn't it? While all our focus is so earnestly bent on producing one intentional thing, the accidental byproducts we cast aside can fall in such a way as to make something accidentally beautiful. Call it serendipity, call it the eye of the beholder, but I like to call it the secret laughter - and grace - of God. 

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