People Make Art: The Bay Lights
We forget: people make art. They make art with computers now, yet hands and skilled people who climb walls, bridges and towers MAKE the making of art. We forget, raising funds is NOT the artwork – though it is an ART! – yet, people make it, pull it, scrape and bake it – and in the “Night Kitchen” has come The Bay Lights which launched last night.
Last night I was not feeling well, and sold my ticket for a boat. Then I thought, how could I NOT bring my 7 year old out – in the rain – to see magic? We peeked over the San Francisco hills to see the bridge start to shine. Then, my son and I drove down a wet Embarcadero to look at a bridge make patterns of water, fish, sounds of the sea. We did not say much, we just drove. Then, my son opened the window, the rain slightly drizzling his face, and I looked through the rear view mirror watching memory implant itself into him: a bridge lit up as art – as life.
For weeks, people ran LED cables up and down each line, with gusting winds, hard hats and the harder bay below. People have pushed and pitched and made argument for the upside of art for tourism and local business (while ALL the while reminding everyone the critical nature of art on the planet . The artist, Leo Villareal, kept to himself and designed and made it ready. And, in the end, last night, no one looking at the bridge was thinking about “upside” or commerce, I HOPE, I assume everyone was doing what you do when you see art become part of your home, your life, your city: you breathe it in, you feel yourself in space – your brain and mind altered to imagine what you might do in your life – or, on your planet.
Me? When I drove home, I looked out that rear mirror and saw myself. I had left my whole body in the spaces between the idea of the lights, and the beauty of the hard work. I had left my body between the rain and the feeling of my adopted city. I left my hands with the hands that put the lights up. I left my mouth and lips and kisses amongst those who had fought hard to have a bridge that is public art. I left myself, with myself: because I am now part of that art.
This morning, I thought of those guys in their hard hats who went up and rigged the bridge to shine: heros.
And it continues, I think of all involved, heroic with that fabulous Left Coast, “See, it’s possible!” moxie — we’re good at that here. Here, in the night kitchen – in the place of the Bay – and lights.
** Deep respect and love to friends who made this happen, Amy Critchett, Christina Harbridge and Lisa Patlis (and all those on the team that made art blend with science in dark of night)…