Art and the Origin of the Universe
by Jack Neworth
It’s said that the election season doesn’t really begin until after Labor Day. What does that have to do with a very hip art show. Stick with me and I’ll explain. Up Twilight Zone music as we go back in time eight years ago.
Okay, maybe the musical cue was a bit much. Moving right along, it was 2006 and two-term council member Kevin McKeown was running for re-election. But the hotel industry had other ideas. They poured a reported $400k into a negative ad campaign to link McKeown to the highly volatile homeless issue.
The PR Company creating the ads actually had ties to the infamous “Willie Horton” attack commercial from the 1988 Bush presidential campaign. (Three years later on his deathbed, Bush’s controversial campaign manager, Lee Atwater asked for and received Michael Dukakis’ forgiveness for having stooped so low.)
As I describe the McKeown TV attack ad I’m inching closer to making the connection to the art show. (Finally!) The commercial featured Michael Timothy McAlevey, (Tim to friends) a longtime Santa Monica resident who voiced genuine concerns into the camera while the viewer saw scenes of the homeless and photos of McKeown. McAlevey had no idea the commercial would be used against Kevin and, in fact, had a McKeown campaign poster in his window.
Stunned after seeing the commercial on Monday Night Football of all places, Tim demanded the commercial be withdrawn from the air. When the producers hesitated Tim went public with how he’d been deceived.
The story was picked up by award-winning L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez and I even wrote a column. And despite being outspent 20-1, Kevin received the most votes of any council candidate!
With Tim being ever-enthusiastic, endlessly energetic and intelligent, over the years I’ve stayed in touch with him, and vice-versa. A graduate of Saint Monica’s, Tim’s spent much of his life here, including 16 years as a little league coach. And if there’s ever anything going on in town that’s hip, newsworthy or trend-setting, it’s likely Tim will be at the front of the parade. I often check in with him just to see what I’m missing.
And his latest artistic “project” is no exception as Tim’s been an artist from childhood. With my writing, sometimes I fancy myself as an artist. But not after I talk to Tim for any length of time. His cadence and patter can be like a jazz musician as he excitedly jumps from one subject to the other.
In fact Tim has a blog appropriately entitled “Mind Jazz.” (He generously credits me with the title because I described his writing “like jazz for the mind.) After chatting with Tim for over an hour the other night I see myself less as an artist and closer to, say, an insurance salesman.
This brings us to Tim’s big art opening November 22nd at the Malibu Methodist Church, “The Other God Particle.” For over six years Tim has drawn much of his inspiration from events taking place at the CERN project in Geneva in the scientific community’s attempts to discover the “The God Particle,” or as some put it, the origin of the universe. (Is that all?) In 2012 the apparent missing particle was discovered for which Peter Higgs received the Nobel Prize.
Then again Tim has drawn his creativity from a variety of sources, some from actual events, and some from his vivid dreams. One such reverie came to him in 1991. He was sitting at an oak table talking with Jackson Pollack who encouraged him to solve the puzzle of life through his art, with emphasis on the word puzzle.
This “vision” led to Tim’s first gallery exposure with a series of Pollack-esque hand-painted magnetic puzzles which sold as quickly as he could make them. His “Puzzle Period” started with a dream but, tragically, ended with a nightmare.
In 1994, Tim’s 15-year-old son, Sean, passed away suddenly. With a 7-year-old daughter to raise, Tim dealt with the loss bravely, “When the Universe kicks your ass, it gives back information if you are seeking it.”
As I’ve confessed to Tim, “The God Particle” and the physicists’ work at CERN is slightly above my pay grade. But I’ve seen the art “The Other God Particle” which it has inspired and the pieces are astounding. Additionally, I gather that during the show the lights will be turned off and in the pitch darkness the artwork “Will come to an even greater life.”
Michael Timothy McAlevey’s art show, “The Other God Particles” will be at the Malibu Methodist Church , November 22, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. (30128 Morning View Dr, Malibu, cA 90265 ((310) 457-7505/(310) 382-6570). Event is FREE.