Bulbous Santas, Smurf ornaments & other Christmas blights
If there is anything I hate more than Christmas music, it is bad Christmas decorations. I am not really a bah-humbug-type of guy, but do our houses have to succumb to plastic trees, endless jolly Claus figures, stars covered with American flags and everything from Smurfs to guitars hanging from every rafter? Let’s face it, Christmas has become the ugliest time of year, while it should be a time of cozy contact with our loved ones, our beliefs and dormant nature, covered with snow. It should be a time when everything around us lets us cherish what we have and encourages us to dream of birth and rebirth.
Here are my pet peeves: natural things — like fir trees, wreaths and pine cones — made out of plastic, covered with fake snow or buried under extraneous ornament; stars, which should produce the effect of twinkling, that are electric red, yellow or green; glass globes so covered with colors and patterns they look like a fast food advertisement; miniatures of Santa Claus, the elves or reindeer made so bulbous no diet would ever be any help and, of course, completely gratuitous ugliness like those guitars, miniature flags, robots, or even jet fighters.
Here is a simple recipe to recapture Christmas: let’s use real nature, like real trees, real wreaths, and real pine cones; let’s look for stars that are simple, light and made out of metal, so that they catch the reflected light; let’s hang transparent glass globes that drink in and transform the scene around them; and above all, let’s try to create the warm, comforting feeling of being at home, waiting for spring to return. Happy Christmas shopping.
Critic, curator and museum director Aaron Betsky curated the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2008, ran Rotterdam’s Netherlands Architecture Institute from 2001-2006 and these days, helms the Cincinnati Art Museum. See his previous blogs HERE and check back on Thursday for his next post.