Saturday, October 13, 2007

"I have a very simple definition of an artist: The artist is someone who pays attention and reports back. A good artist pays close attention and knows how to report back. I teach a course called "Looking and Listening." The class and I practice paying attention. I take them to many different places, often for a full day, and we look and listen. Sometimes we go to an oil field in the Central Valley, or to a mountaintop to watch the sky brighten as the sun begins to rise, or to a homeless neighborhood in downtown Los Angeles, or to the port at Long Beach. We gradually learn that our looking and listening are coded by our own prejudices and learn to see and hear more clearly. And learn more about what we do see."
--James Benning (from an interview in September's Art Forum)