“The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nation’s Millennium General Assembly” and the Radical Sense of Place

fullsizeoutput_fc3Thinking about the boundary between art and real life, I am reminded of seeing James Hampton’s “artistic work” for the first time at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  However the more I think about the aesthetics of Gullah Culture and what we learn about art from observing our surroundings, the more that it becomes clear that real life is art. James Hampton didn’t consider himself to be a visionary artist. He literally saw himself as an emissary from God who was building a home, this “throne,” for himself and Jesus in heaven.  I think of the song that the Morehouse College Glee Club has arguably made famous: “I am Building Me a Home.”  I like the idea of prayer and song as an active work and alchemy. I like the idea of art actually being able to build a home. Despite the fact that Hampton constructed his heaven within heaven for everyone to see, I think this work is more than art, it is visible prayer. Moreover, it is prayer which is practical at the same time. As the song says, “my soul’s gotta have somewhere to stay.”wHzR66pnQCq0DK3sFkbTkASBujB1XHQwa0%A%oPUqE8Qfullsizeoutput_1030fullsizeoutput_1031OGwx+AQNRhCpBpJg9mE0HQfullsizeoutput_1032

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