Friday, October 1, 2010
I don't think there's any other way
to go to a museum than by yourself.
My favorite part of any museum is
the makeshift alcoves they set apart
for projectors and film. The way
the black hallway leads you farther
and farther from the light, then
suddenly around the corner into
still more black walls with a lone
bench across infinite floor space
to a projection on the wall.
I saw slideshows of photographs
from the Great Depression, I saw
the dance of the dead, and I saw
the relationship between art and light.
I also saw the blotting out of the sun
and an insatiable desire to fly or float,
but never success.
More importantly, I saw the alienation
of temporary human existence in
hotels and motels and for the first time,
I realized the insane unnaturalness of it all.
Aside from film, I couldn't help but realize
the serenity of the theaters.
There was no one else there.
The museum wasn't crowded, per se, (Thursday
afternoons rarely are) but there were a fair
number of patrons. Oh, people stopped by for
a few moments or so. But when the film didn't
immediately pique their interest, they quickly
Have we come to that? Paintings are so still,
so passive, that if we don't see something we
like in it right away, we move on. (Is that
right? Should we be so impatient as to assume
that time spent with a still image will garner
no more influence on our souls?1)
As an effect, it seems that films must react
the same way. Hollywood is required to draw
us in, initially with the trailer, and more
importantly, with the attention-grabbing intro.
Unfortunately art doesn't work that way.
Sometimes to get the picture,
you need to watch the piece in its entirety.
Believe it or not, museums are not "quick-fix
It makes me sad that we are so caught up
in time that we can't take a few extra
minutes and spend it doing what we actually
came here to do.
1No. I spent time today with
Van Gogh and Edvard Munch and Mark Rothko
and Claude Monet and Jackson Pollock
to name a few, and if there's one thing
I realized, its that nothing can evoke
more understanding or emotion in a painting
than spending time with it.