Saturday, April 12, 2008

Modern Art

Despite the cloudy, rainy weather, it’s been a lovely day today.

Of course it’s been lovely—it’s Saturday! What’s not to like about a Saturday?

As usual, I slept in late, and then John and I went out for lunch and for a walk. Then we stopped in at the Cultural Center, which always has interesting art exhibits. Well, today’s exhibits were no exception.

The first exhibit was photos of folks in 1967, looking at the Picasso about a month after it was revealed to the public. People were astounded and perplexed by it. Their reactions were interesting.

Then we saw a most fascinating exhibit. Entitled "Slightly Unbalanced," it featured modern art from people expressing their neuroses. The works of art were freaky, funny, creepy, and thought-provoking.

One of the really creepy ones was a small woman’s head with a doll’s body, trapped under a folding chair that was lying on its side. The creepy part was that the head had a video playing in it, of a woman’s actual face, and she was talking. It was like a real woman’s head was trapped under a chair, and she was talking to us like it was perfectly normal to be trapped under a chair. I remarked to John, "This is the creepiest thing I have ever seen."

Another one that really left an impression on me was a bunch of colorful pie charts where the artist had shown him or herself as, for example, 80% sad, 10% guilty, and 10% happy. Some of the charts just had "sad" on all three of the sections of the pie. Wow. Suicidal much?

But my absolutely favorite exhibit was a video (fictional) of a woman who had just won a cruise, being interviewed by the radio station that she’d won the cruise from. The interviewer just wanted a good promotional clip of her saying "Thanks, WCLU, for the cruise! I’m so excited to go!" or something like that. Instead, the woman turned it into her own personal documentary, where she shared some of her own works of art and basically used the interview to serve her own personal ego needs for recognition and appreciation. At one point, she said to the interviewer, "I bet you didn’t think you’d be doing a documentary of an artist today." It was extremely funny, and I definitely recognized myself in the character. I think all of us, whether artists or not, have a need to be loved, appreciated, and complimented sometimes. Our egos feed on approval. And I don’t know about anyone else, but when I have a creative moment, I sometimes have to work at remembering that it’s not "me" that’s being creative—it’s really coming from something bigger than myself, and I really can’t take credit for it.

Anyway, the video and all the works of art I saw today really made me laugh, and also really made me think.

And after all, isn’t that what art is supposed to do?


Buck said...

The Picasso thing is definitely an armadillo. Any Texan would agree with me.

Lorraine said...

(checks ancient art history notes) Yep. And armadillo.