Paul later states, "the artwork is a virus that infiltrates" well, isn't that the same of love? In turn,when you walk into a modern art museum there are more often than not moments of "huh. I think I get it. I think I like it. But do I? Do I really know?" I've certainly been there with the loves in my life. And what of the inaccessibility of so much art, how the more hidden it is the more it's sought after, do we not go after the most withholding of men? If someone gave me a key to the city or, as Paul says, "threw it off the back of an ice cream truck" would it work as well for me, would it hold the same power and magic? Does love that's come without the slightest of effort mean as much to the receiver herself?
On Sunday, September 5th, 2010 at approximately 5:30pm I ventured with the project's most wonderful find Tom to the Whitney Museum of art and turned the last key into the last lock, uncovering a 3D model of plans for the Whitney's latest extension in Chelsea, near where I live. I was sick and Tom was kind, even in my cranky cold-induced moments, and we discussed life plans, growing up, and, what else, love. We later dined on grownup Ramen noodles in the East Village (another of Tom's first) and when we hugged (I had a 100 plus degree fever at this point) my belly button glowed warm with his connection and it was the first time that I truly felt this really may turn into something. Something beyond a project or a key, but a living breathing work of relational art, all on its own.
where it all began, Bryant Park.
Before the park I go on a dinner date, just me myself and I, and the hard-flipping folks at the not-so-secret Burger Joint, (a wooden paneled, graffitied hole in the wall hidden behind lavish curtains in the upscale Le Parker Meridien) didn't bat an eye when I ordered the works with fries in blue silk. I sat across from a cute guy but instead whipped out a book and when Tom texted me I smiled, but kept my attention focused on myself.
Walking to Bryant Park I noted every person walking by and tried to guess the impact they could play on my life. I took stock of every door and wondered what may lay behind its threshold. I've always been on the lookout for extraordinary moments in every day life, a leaf imprinted in concrete or the way a child wraps her hand around her mother's pinkie finger, but after key to the city every door front has the ability to bring you to a new world, every person the possibility to make a connection. Even if it’s just empty beer cans and dead fish, a split second romance on a subway platform or a three week love affair. It’s about living, truly living, every moment of your life, noticing the small details, getting lost in the treasures of opportunity and risk, that makes our lives, our loves, and ourselves, all the more interesting to be a part of. I’d never be a passive observer in my own life again.
It's broken. The lock was broken. Someone, some person who came before me, had snapped their lock into the key hole rendering each follower dumbstruck at the inability to render it fixed. I pried at the broken piece of metal, attempted using a bobby pin like Nancy Drew, willed it to slip out with my mind, nothing works. Finally, staring up at the unlit light, I stood and turned to walk away. As I did a young woman approached me, surrounded by three friends. Aren't you that girl with the blog? She asks, and I laugh saying I am. Her and her friends inform me they came to the last site similarly disappointed that the last lock didn't work but they decided to make a night of it any way and were enjoying hot cocoa perfectly temperatured for the new fall weather. Finally, as I turned to go, the first girl stopped me and asked, "wait, how will this end? Don't you need a date for your blog?" "or at least a functional key site?" questioned one of her friends.
I paused and looked around at the glow of the garden, remembered the taste of my burger and how liberating it felt to eat it alone with a book, and the quiet beauty on a night with myself and answered
No, tonight this was enough.
And, finally, it was.
When I first got to Bryant Park, I watched the unfolding of evening Monday-labor day life beneath the floodlights illuminating the space. I saw couples with children, lovers from
And it only took me 24 dates to figure it out.