Ladies and gentlemen: Cara!
I was going to introduce you all to the strange workings of my mind gradually, but I
saw this article: http://www.newyorker.com/critics/art/?040301craw_artworld. If you
aren’t interested in the state of modern art museums in London, I would skip it.
But the one line that struck me was, “Do we want museums to remind us of going to
church?” Well, no, but they do. You’re supposed to be quiet and serious and you’re
not supposed to touch anything. They even sort of look like church-lofty ceilings
supported by utilitarian white walls. They even have their zealots.
Let’s take these issues one by one. First of all, why is talking in art museums so
taboo? Do the paintings sing selections from Sunday in the Park with George, but
only if you’re really quiet? I can understand not wanting to hear the minute
details of someone’s gallbladder operation while attempting to enjoy a Georgia
O’Keefe, but why is discussion about the art one is looking at looked down upon?
(Re: last sentence-why, yes, I was an English major!)
Also, why do we have to be serious if the art isn’t? The Art Institute of Chicago
has strategically placed an oversized, Technicolor, Andy Warhol portrait of Chairman
Mao at the end of a corridor through their Chinese art collection. It’s actually
sort of, dare I say, funny.
I concede not being allowed to touch stuff, so on to the zealots. For some reason,
whenever I go to an art museum I always seem to find myself in the same gallery as
some verbose pretentious twit. He usually has some glassy-eyed girl in tow and
peppers his whispered conversation with words like “zeitgeist.” Now, to be fair,
I’m kind of pretentious when it comes to art. I like to examine the brush strokes,
consider the composition, and note the colors. I want to know about the painter,
about the time period, if there’s any interesting symbolism. But sometimes I just
think, “Nice painting,” and move on.
Before I get too wrapped up in the meaning of art and/or the place of museums in
society, I’ll just leave you with one thought: