Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Back Home.

Took my husband to Boston for his birthday, to visit a friend and see a Roger Waters concert. Pink Floyd was one of those bands that my brother listened to, so I am familiar with the music, but never owned any myself, never payed too much attention to the lyrics, etc., and did not realize how subversive they were/are. Now I have some homework to do. It was a very political performance, a reminder that artists should be an integral part of any resistance when things are as screwed up as they presently are in this country.

Got to see the Louise Bourgeois show, which was culled from local collections, and therefore, limited. Louise Bourgeois is an important artist for me. Her philosophy, "An artist's job is to tell truths that grownups don't want to hear", has become my own. There are many works of hers that I find too abstract, so personal that they say nothing to me. But when she is on, she is SO on. Like her cells. Or her sewn figures. Or, especially, her spiders. I just saw two at the Kemper Museum in Kansas City last month, and they had one at the ICA in Boston. What power. I don't know why some of them are titled "Spider" and some are titled "Maman", which is how I always think of them. Also saw the Hopper show, which was crowded and frustrating. His early night etchings were incredibly important to me decades ago, when I was doing night landscapes. To this day, I prefer all his night images. There was a large Joseph Cornell show at the Peabody Essex museum in Salem (I was there for witch trial research, and this was an amazing bonus), but we were on a schedule, and we had to go through the Cornell exhibit much too quickly. There were some pieces I have never seen before, and the museum does a great job of helping the viewer get inside the artist's brain.

I understand that those headphones that many museums offer are educating people, (and how can you be against education?), but I find them annoying. Watch people in a museum sometime: they are all standing, en masse, nine to ten feet away from the painting, about the same distance they would be from their TV, being spoon fed information about the painting. The information usually consists of amusing anecdotes and peripheral information that can be brought up and discussed over coffee in the museum cafe afterwards. I tried the headphones for the first time this weekend, and was incredibly frustrated. Experts say that you should not drive and talk on your cellphone at the same time, because you are using competing parts of your brain: I think the same thing is at work when you try to really look at, OR LISTEN TO, a painting while someone's voice is passing directly through your ear canal and into your brain.

My extra super long stretcher bars were waiting on my front porch when we arrived home. I have to recut them with my miter saw to make my triangle today.


Blogger Barb said...

I think it is interesting how those headphones end up choreographing a person's experience with the work and also their movements within the museum space(s). Its a strange performance....

I've worn the headphones once...for about 15 minutes....never again.

1:18 PM  

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