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Mar 2, 2010

When Not-So-Good Art is Really Great

I wake up this morning and gaze at a lovely poster I've put up at the foot of my bed from the Met Museum of a painting by Jean Gerome of Pygmalion seizing his creation in a passionate kiss, Cupid hovering, and the masks of Tragedy and Tragedy resting on a table nearby. It is sentimental and shallow (the studio is nearly empty except for- a bronze shield??) but quite beautifully executed, especially the exquisitely realized figure of the sculpture- the only art in the studio that is not totally ridiculous.  I really like the work, but why? It's only the figure and the theme.  They are both perfect.  Actually, the shield– no doubt rescued from a nobleman's trash– is sometimes more necessary than even a chisel.  The masks (really more Tragedy and Disbelief) represent all that is ever likely going to be available for the artist (or could it be that some idiot collector commissioned them but never paid?)  And there is no depiction of Cupid- accurateor no- that is not silly.  Finally,  in the face of living art all other can only be ridiculous.  The image is perfect!

But why do I have it?  Ironically, it was a present from Claudia, one of the few things I brought with me.  It is not insignificant that this is what I choose.  What I choose is not the Tragedy but the art.  Which only comes to me in this form.  As long as it is seen as a material or ego pursuit, it will remain ludicrous to others.  Only if it is seen as a spiritual quest does the whole enterprise take on a strange and luminous transcendence!
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Tim Holmes Studio

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I'm a sculptor/filmmaker living in Montana, USA. I am using art to move the evolution of humanity forward into an increasingly responsive, inclusive and interactive culture. As globalization flattens peoples into a capitalist monoculture I hope to use my art to celebrate historical cultural differences and imagine how we can co-create a rich future together.

I see myself as an artist/philosopher laboring deep in the mines of joy. I've had a good long career of exhibiting work around the world and working on international outreach projects, most notably being the first American to be invited to present a one-person exhibit in the Hermitage Museum. Recently I have turned my attention from simply making metal sculpture to creating films and workshops for engaging communities directly, tinkering with the very ideas and mechanisms behind cultural transformation. I feel that as we face tragic world crises, if the human species favors our imaginative and creative capacities we can cultivate a rich world to enjoy.

For me the deepest satisfaction in making art comes in engaging people's real life concerns rather than providing simple entertainment or decoration. Areas of conflict or tension are particularly ripe for the kind of transformative power that art uniquely carries. I invite any kind of challenge that serves people on a deep level.