I took this photograph on May 30, 2015. This old truck sits beside Route 93 north of Ely, Nevada, at what was once a Pony Express station. But what caught my eye is not the truck; rather, what’s on the passenger door. Please look at it carefully. That work of art depicts the scene of my photograph (and others I took).
A similar work of art is attached to the dilapidated building behind the truck.
In this, you can clearly see the truck and the building. I’ve no idea of the identity of the artist. I only know these took time, talent, and patience … as well as an exceptional imagination.
Both works are remarkable. But the true genius of this artist is, perhaps, her or his recognition of the ephemeral nature of art. I took the photograph below almost exactly one year later.
The works of art are no more. Exposure to weather? Ignorant vandalism? Did the artist have a change of heart?
In time, art fades. It dissipates in clarity, meaning, acceptance, substance, context … even if carved in stone rather than pasted on the side of a truck. Art, like anything else, has a history of evolution, and sometimes that means devolution.
Often, I suppose, it’s not the fault of the art or artist. Individual tastes change. I love rock ‘n’ roll. Now I rarely seek it out. The post-rock movement has me now (after passages through classical, jazz, and blues phases). We change. So does the role of art in our lives.
Nothing survives the passage of time unaltered. Art is no exception. Perhaps that’s why we should pay more attention to it individually and culturally.
Art lives, but it also ages … just as we do.