Sunday, January 9, 2011

Like A Koi In The Pond

So, why does the Torrance Art Museum need a writer-in-residence? That's like asking, why does a pond need koi? Or why does a parking lot need painted lines?

TAM, according to its website, "promotes meaningful experiences in the arts to strengthen creative and critical thinking skills; and builds bridges between the visual arts and other disciplines in the humanities and sciences."

The W-I-R post fits somewhere in the above; better still, that excerpt demonstrates that someone involved with TAM cares about semi-colons. That's a huge plus for any org considering offering a W-I-R program.

The best-known writer-in-residence project these past couple of years was Alain de Botton's gig at Heathrow Airport. The author and philosopher set up for seven days a desk in that behemoth London facility's departures lounge and produced a short, well-received book about the experience.

De Botton was paid by the airport's umbrella authority and a p.r. firm came up with the idea. The book was distributed free-of-charge to airport users. Anyone interested in funding such an arrangement for TAM? If so, then please contact the museum or this blog.

De Botton has said repeatedly that he was left alone as promised and wrote whatever he pleased. (Although the photographer's shots that accompanied de Botton's text were screened prior to publication for security reasons.) The former, at least, will apply to TAM's writer-in-residence program.

Curator Max Presnelli and his team have offered access to behind-the-scene meetings, as well as to occasions such as the days after an exhibition concludes, and works come off the walls, and artists come by to gather up their pieces. 

One of TAM's goals, presumably, is to demystify what goes on over at 3320 Civic Center Drive. The museum is also treating the written word as art – long an established art world tradition.This blog will delve deeper into the much of the above, and more, over the following months. 

This blog will also aim to be of some small assistance to TAM-goers. Alan de Botton was asked during his airport stint that eternal, vital question – where are the bathrooms?

At TAM, we understand, they're down the hall, to the left.