3 Degrees of Cool

3 Degrees of Cool, Masterworks of Contemporary Art can be described as artwork for the patient viewer. This patience must come at multiple levels. People viewing 3 Degrees of Cool must be patient in viewing the initial sections by searching for the meaning of the works of art and overcoming the initial shock of all art works in bland black-and-white. Viewers must also have the patience to work their way towards the back area of the gallery and discover, hidden from their initial view, brilliant color and bright works of art, which are full of imagination and proficient in provoking thoughts and discussion.

When starting my journey through 3 Degrees of Cool, I began as an extremely skeptical viewer, walking through the lack of color. There were some interesting sculptures for the public to view; however, they lacked meaning while stationed at their position. While continuing through the works of art, I came to a puzzling piece. At first glance, it looked like an unfilled spreadsheet. After viewing the work closer, I still concluded that it looked like an unfilled spreadsheet. I truly do not understand how a spreadsheet can be a work of art. The title of the work, Untitled, must be because the work was not worthy enough to have a name. I could get a ruler, pencil, and graph paper, and I feel like I could do the exact same thing that was on the wall of the gallery.

The only work of art I found to be impressively eye-catching in my “lack of color” viewing may not have been intended to be part of the display. Unmarked on the guide to the different works of art was a beautiful, black piano. This exquisite, polished, black piano was filled with mystery and wonder. Why was the piano there? Was it left from a previous installment? Not only is the piano itself a work of great craftsmanship and art, but a person can also create a work of art while playing this fine instrument. The piano is definitely the high-point of the “black-and-white” sections of the gallery. While I tried looking around at the different works of art, my eyes kept falling back to the piano. Glass cube…black cube…back to the black piano. Black stripes…black patterns…back to the black piano.
People working through their frustration of the lack of color in the front of the gallery can rejoice, as their efforts will be rewarded at the back area of the works of art. These pieces of art attract the eye with their colors and texture, and the thought-provoking patterns are waiting for discussion.

This back area is where the art creates the most excitement and where the most stories are waiting to be told. One such work of art, William Wood’s Untitled, creates a depth beyond what the eye can see. The painting brings out another dimension with the shading, twists, and turns. I feel like the artwork is giving a viewer a window to the outer world, and yet the twists and turns make the artwork look like a curtain that conceals something extra. If the viewer focuses hard enough, maybe the curtains will part and will offer an experience beyond what one has ever experienced.

Gerard Richter’s 798-2 Abstract Painting is more than just abstract. Beyond the chaos that a casual viewer might only see, this painting seems to tell only a part of a story. While this may seem frustrating to some people, it is intriguing the questions that are brought up when viewing this artwork. Is it a foggy night? A freeway mess? Could it be a blurred world, with glasses ready to focus and reveal the true picture? What is the significance of the title? Could it be the name of intersecting highways? Many questions are posed, but there are so little answers. This makes the art a true work to talk about.
One work that really focused my attention was Damien Hirst’s Beautiful Christmas Morning Constellation Painting. In this case, the title of the work of art really brings out the point the artist was attempting to get across. This title describes the art completely. The whirlwind of happiness and chaos at Christmas morning when opening presents…a brightness that lights up the whole room…stars shining brightly…and the texture. The different textures represent the different types of people coming together to create a happy medium and celebrating one central point of focus. This work gives even the most casual viewer happy memories of Christmas morning in the form of a colorful work of art.

Overall, after getting through the initial shock of lack of color, the gallery creates a sense of questioning and wonder. Viewers may feel that there is something deeper than what a first glance may offer. This is what a gallery should offer to the public…question, wonder, and a search for the truth and meaning behind the work itself.

by Adam Hill

Major: Civil Engineering
Expected Graduation Date: May 2004
Hometown: Othello, WA

When taking notes at the review, I wanted to focus on
my personal experiences at the 3 Degrees of Cool
gallery, and relate those thoughts to a potential
viewer. I strived for the audience to get a feeling
about the art installment solely from my writing;
however, I wanted to leave them with the realization
that in order to get the full experience, they had to
actively go to the gallery itself.