Ahmet Oran’s Untitled 2002 surprised me when I walked around the corner, sitting on the wall like a great red sun, boiling in space. I really wanted to take a sneaky picture of it, but the guards at the Istanbul Modern are omnipresent and not shy about staring at you while you stare at the art. Of course, the picture would have been crap anyway–subtlety such as the thicker slashes of paint at the very bottom rim of the great red orb would have been lost and it would have garnered the same scorn that I had for the small, black and white reproductions of modern artists that I’d seen in my grandmother’s encyclopedia back in Oklahoma. Who cares? I could do that. Right? I still remember the exact moment I saw a Pollack at the MOMA. 17, first time in a f’reals big city, and to make it a lovely little story, I think that’s when I actually grew up. How very middle-class bourgeois.
Still, Ahmet Oran. I got to come to Istanbul and see his painting in all its fleshy, oily splendor. All in all, a pretty good end to a trip that has included a late-night hike to see the fires of the Chimera, rolling around the underground cities of Cappadocia, a dip in Mediterranean, and a close-up and personal encounter with the barely controlled chaos of Turkish highway driving. Exhilarating, maddening, and a great break between the highly ritualized excavation season and the drudgery of the school year.
I am trying to focus on the positive things coming–hopefully meeting with one of my favorite currently publishing archaeologists at Burning Man, finishing my field statements and passing my orals (cross my fingers!), working out a large, pervasive game for the Presidio, and starting work on my next film/multimedia project proposal. In between all these things, maybe a little snowboarding, conference going, and the usual chaos that makes a great story after you’re finished.
Time to go enjoy my last day in one of my favorite cities.