Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 70


Coffee: Cafe Pajaro, Trader Joe’s Brand; waking up an hour late, I barely even tasted it; baggage check at an airport.

I went to CAM Raleigh, a contemporary art museum. All the art was local.

I’ve got mixed feelings about art museums, or at least about urban art museums in up-and-coming techno capitals like Raleigh. They’re a good thing, an outlet, not a lot of ways to show your art. That said, the art they show tends to talk about (and come from) the communities being pushed out by wealthy, techno-global business and the amenities made to serve them – including, of course, contemporary art museums.

I walked around the museum in the mid afternoon. The artwork ranged from oil paints to mixed media. I liked some pieces, disliked others. Much of the art was chasing something about the black American experience. I can’t comment on whether it caught it because that’s not my experience. Behind me, following about six feet away around the entire museum, a dad and mom and two daughters were talking about the pieces. One of the daughters was saying things like ‘chiaroscuro’ and her dad was saying how smart she is. At a different corner, a five year old was crying because she couldn’t touch the paints.

One good moment: downstairs, in the farthest corner, was an installation by Jasmine Best. Best is from Greensboro, near where I grew up. She’d strung a room from floor to ceiling with a facsimile of a southern, screened-in front porch. The porch was made of quilted fabric, and so was the mosquito net, the chairs, the potted plants, everything was quilt. Nearby, a recording played sounds of windchimes. Nostalgic. I stood there as long as I could, letting the families walk in and out. When I left, I felt like I’d remembered something that hadn’t ever happened to me but was vivid and real all the same.

Currently Reading: Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain

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Like a mother, a front porch offers protection and tries its best to keep undesired objects out; or more importantly, to keep the child in. But just like a mother there are limits to how much it can actually shield.

Jasmine Best, About her Installation Screened In