Wednesday, February 15, 2012

An Hour of the Arts

Way back, two whole weeks ago, I went to an art museum.  I don't do places like that.  I don't really do art or wine tastings or other classy things. My living room is currently strewn with trekking poles, various layers of winter clothing, my harness and rock shoes, etc. The finer things in life? Not so much.

Nonetheless, I figured it wouldn't hurt the horizons to have them stretched a bit, and there was supposed to be a photography exhibit that several people told me that I needed to see, so I did. And then I checked out some of their other exhibits as well, seeing as how I was there and I had paid. I don't know how much I will remember (since my internet provider decided I didn't need internet for 12 days- but who's counting, right?), but I will try.

Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures.  I sort of figured that might be bad form in an art museum. But I'll still tell you all about it.  (Hey! Where'd everybody go?)

The photography exhibit was definitely interesting.  This photographer does a number of photos from the mountains out here, but she's also done some extensive traveling around the world. One thing that she does is that all of her photos were in black and white. I'm not sure how I feel about that. The pictures of my mountains in black and white drove me a little nuts, kind of like Ansel Adams' photography.  At least in Adams' case he didn't have much of a choice, but this photographer did.  One of the things that I love about the mountains is the richness of the various colors, especially perhaps the awesome blue of the sky. Something about seeing those in black and white made me feel like I couldn't really see the picture and I was just looking at shadows.  However, she also had some portraits from locally and all over the world.  Those I love in black and white.  For example:

I mean, how can you not love black and white portraits?  Now in this case, we are also missing out on some awesome baby blues, but I love the way the black and white fades everything else out so you just see amazing sweetness of this little face. I love the picture in color, too, but there's something about the black and white.*

Some of the architecture shots in black and white were pretty cool as well, because it brings out the lines.  But landscapes and flowers?  I want color, people!

Next I went to the permanent collection. There were paintings and pottery and sculptures and photographs.  Some I liked, some I didn't.  Some I took some time with to give them a chance.  Most had a western flare to reflect our location.  All well and good.  The last place that I visited was the 60's and newer room.


Random things like a cat and a road (not a cat standing on the road, because it was much bigger than the road), I don't get. A sculpture of a pencil lead that also sort of looks like a warhead that's supposed to be a "humorous" commentary of some sort.  I don't get that either.  How about the paper with a couple of scribbles on it?  They weren't quite letters and they weren't quite shapes, but there were about four of them in a row.  The "explanation" of the artist was that sometimes it's not about executing a vision as much as it is attacking the medium and seeing what comes of it.  Let me tell you what comes of it: SOMETHING THAT A 3 YEAR OLD COULD DO. Swirls of paint on a canvas? If I can do it, it's not art. Splatters of paint on a canvas that look like depression one direction and hope another? Buddy, several paint cans threw up on your canvas.  It's not a commentary on life.  I suppose the long canvas with bright, bold stripes looked okay, but they're stripes.  I'm not so sure they're art; maybe just a bold decorating choice.

Some of the pieces did require some sort of talent or skill; it just looked like a waste of talent and skill and time and resources. As I read some of the explanations of these various pieces, I felt like I was wandering into a sort of "Emperor's New Clothes" type of situation.  Do people really see art in that, or do they just say that they do because someone told them it was artsy and hung it in a museum, so it must be art? I wonder on some of those who's the biggest fool, the one who first called it art or the one that agreed that it was art and hung it in a museum.

Now, if you are one of those people that appreciates that kind of art, I will freely admit that I am far too uncouth to understand and you may look down your nose at my plebeian tastes. I, however, will stand by my assertion that if you have to explain it to me, it's not art!

Anyway, I finished up my tour.  I had tried to take my time to soak it in and not rush.  If I was going to expand my horizons I wanted to give them all the time they needed to expand. I even paused for several whole seconds in front of some of the items. I had plenty of time that afternoon, and it seemed like I successfully whiled away plenty of time in there.

Yep.  A whole hour.  That's it. I guess it's going to take a lot more work to refine me and expand my art horizons!

*This is the little guy of an amazing friend of mine; and he's got some awfully cute brothers as well. I can prove that they are all cute, and here you go (even though these pictures are 6 months old and all these boys have had the audacity to keep getting more and more huge- can't wait to see them soon!) :

Loving on baby brother (one of the few times he actually sat still enough to take a picture... There were too many couches that needed to be climbed and jumped off)

Showing us the muscles
Just because I had to prove the point about those blue eyes


  1. The redheads are absolutely adorable. Red hair runs in my family and I always hoped for a redheaded child but I married an italian with black hair. Maybe recessive will win if I can ever get pregnant :)! Enjoyed reading your post!

  2. Blech, I cannot STAND "modern art"! I never have liked it, and then a few years ago I went to a classical ed conference where a speaker went really in depth looking at the philosophies and mindsets and stuff that is behind all those art movements. Which pretty much boiled down to things like nothing has meaning, there is no such thing as truth, no right and wrong, etc. No thanks!

  3. I'm with you on color: black and white can be really striking and good -- but for the most part? I want to see the COLORS that make something lovely. I'm okay with being uncouth :) We all appreciate things differently! Like, I appreciate that those stripes called art are, in fact, pretty. Pretty boring :)

  4. Your post made me laugh! I also miss the 'subtleties' of modern art. But in high school I visited the Chicago Institute of Art and fell in love with Renoir's work (I still have a poster of that exact painting). I'm fascinated by M.C. Escher. I also really love sculpture, somehow I interact with that differently. Or maybe it was the wine, baguettes and cheese in Paris, probably consumed both before and after that visit to the Rodin exhibit?? Whatever, it worked for me!

    Personally, I love the photography you share on this website. The colours are so vibrant and amazing.

  5. I agree with you ... some photos need to be black and white, but bring on the color! Your header photo wouldn't look the same in black and white. Not even!
    I know what you mean about people sticking two pieces of random stuff together or painting swirls on a canvas and calling it art. That, I just don't get.