By James Foritano
BOSTON – Here I was, sipping a shot of wheatgrass in Brant Gallery of the Garden Lab Project at the Mass College of Art and Design. It was a giddy group and motley as today’s students, even teachers, will be. But if it lacked the decorum of dinner jackets and white tie, at least, I consoled myself, with the belief it bristled with integrity.
I’m an esthete, an art-snob; I admit it. I like best pontificating upon matters abstract that only I fully appreciate. And here I was ingesting this Constable- green cocktail, that, according to Dan Silva, a second year graduate student, can be grown easily by anyone who cares for our environment and our bodies. Well, I certainly do care!
So, I reined in my pique and edged over towards a ‘conversation arbor,’ a tangle of woody vines (what else?), with professor Jonathan Santos. I own an abstract by professor Santos — an abstract that only I appreciate fully. And I enjoy talking to professors since their conversation usually spirals into abstract realms that I can at least appear to appreciate.
But, again, I was disappointed. Professor Santos’ words and affections remained resolutely concrete as he laconically pointed towards the ‘haircut’ of green sprouts that seemed to be growing taller as we spoke and urged me to ‘drink up.’
Santos is a lanky, genial sprite that, despite his dalliance with the abstract, I distrusted on sight. So, what could I do, but full of regret, more over to a table that featured “moss graffiti” — something else one can’t hang on a wall.
As I sullenly sipped at an herb which promises to nourish me as much as a pound of greens, per sip, I reflected on the inevitability of this swerve in consciousness in the young and hopeful just at the point where we seemed to be denying all responsibility for our own and our planet’s health. And I resigned myself to monitoring this semester-long adventure in doing good and eating well.
My mood lifted, though, as I entered the corridor and noticed through a bank of windows that I was looking down into the Bakalar and Paine Galleries decked out in what looked like either a construction site or (dared I hope) Art for Art’s Sake – abstract and definitely inedible!
Do come for one, or, to be sure you won’t be let down, both. After all, man (or woman) does not live by wheat grass alone.
(The experimental “Garden Lab” project continues throughout the 2012 spring semester at Mass College of Art and Design’s Brant Gallery, 621 Huntington Avenue, Boston. For more details and information on upcoming related events, visit http://sf.massart.edu/gardenlab)