OPEN LETTER 2016 AC- after church
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN,
I am not a religious man. My beliefs are muddied, twisted, unclear, flawed and so covered by the callouses of cynicism that I can barely access them. Any "face" of God that is presented behind the mask of the majors- Judaeo/Christian/Muslim/Hindu/Buddhist corporate structure, I see as an acne scarred death puss, whose vacant stare promises no grace, but rather an excuse to violence. More killing is done in "the name of God" than any other reason. God gives me no peace of mind.
Yet, in spite of this confession, I am fascinated (as an artist) in all things religious. So much so, that early in my career I completed many works with religious themes, entered seminary as a performance piece , and actually ended up establishing a church with all the trimmings. That was 30 years ago. The Church of the Little Green Man has survived in all its subversive glory, spanning 3 decades, many locations, ending up in the little hamlet of Glen Wild, NY, nestled in the Catskill Mountains. I'm as surprised as you are that this is the case.
This past Saturday many of my friends joined together to form what we refer to as a "congregation", smilingly burning dollar bills, entered a historical church, sat down in the uncomfortable pews, and bore witness to the fact that love, absurdity, art, community, and even what some would call "non-judgmental faith" can exist in, not only theory, but action. The CLGM is a living, breathing entity. Whether the congregant is a first time dollar burner, or has been torching "the George" for all these 30 years, the look on their faces is the same. Church is about to begin and I am ready.....I think.
I may use the nomenclature of the "art world", referring to "Dada" or "anti-art", or "Absurdism", but we are as attached to the art world about as much as we are aligned with the Vatican. It's just a lack of language I come up against when trying to grasp what the Hell is really happening here. The bullshit term of "performance art" doesn't even come close to encapsulating what takes place during a CLGM service. There is a purity to this gathering that transcends definition. The core group that started this holy mess remain: Carlo McCormick, Cali Callas, Tessa Hughes-Freeland, Robin Winters, Walter Robinson, Samm Kunce, and Rob Kennedy, joined now by many younger and prettier congregants. To you all I bow in supplication. I don't know what exactly we've created here. But I assure you that it is original, in a world that seems to be reactive and self-referencial in the extreme. I am extremely proud of its existence and am humbled by you all.