This week, thanks to my Netflix membership, I got to see two bio documentaries on artists. I found How To Draw a Bunny interesting and also pretty depressing. It’s about the life and death of pop artist Ray Johnson. He was prolific, a neverending string of firecrackers. Many of his pieces were postcard sized. He mailed them to friends, messages in bottles. He never did a show in an art gallery or museum. He did "happenings" which he refered to as "nothings." I remember reading the story about his disappearance in the New York Times around ten years ago. I had never heard of him then. The saddest thing about the film is that although Johnson seemed to know "everyone" — his phone book included more famous names that I could list — all the people interviewed said that they felt like they never really knew him.
On the other hand, Rivers and Tides, a documentary about the work of Andy Goldsworthy was very inspiring. Goldsworthy is a sculptor, and all his raw materials come from the natural world. He rearranges nature, I guess you could say. He works with tiny icicles or marked stones or brilliant scarlet leaves. Often his work is temporary and quickly unraveled by tides or winds or other forces of nature. Just watching the film, I felt like I was being inviting "in," and it was pretty astonishing.
Off to California in the morning. Must sleep. Both films are worth seeing.