Ask an Artist! Art Museums…my way!
Great Question Amy.
Since this blog is about being 100% honest, I would have to say the first section I go to is the bathroom.:) funny, but I’m serious. You never know how long you will be in a museum, or how deep and far away from the bathroom you get into it. BUt I’m sure that’s not the kind of honesty your looking for.
Okay, in all seriousness, I am very particular when it comes to art museums. I actually do not go to art museums that often, I never really have. I think part of the reason is I’ve never been good at repressing my feelings and my thoughts. When I was a kid and I’d go to the museums with my Mom or with school, I would find myself getting REALLY bored. I look back and I think it’s because I had to stay quite. The art in the museums would always trigger a reaction, but I had to keep inside…that has ALWAYS been frustrating to me. I think the other thing is when I was a kid I saw the museums as this great open area to run, and I always wish I had a basketball to dribble all over the wood floors, weaving in and out of the sculptures. But of course I couldn’t do that. When I go to art museums today, as an adult, I get the same feelings of excitement. I want to speak expressively and not have to consider other people, because art does that to me. It fills me with this feeling of joy and I run through a gamut of emotions and thoughts.
I’ve always felt there CAN’T just be one way to enjoy an art museum. Being stoic and repressed while looking at beautiful art just seems so unnatural. As a result, I just never went to museums much, because I could enjoy the art the way I wanted to. But then I saw a movie called L.A Story , starring Steve Martin. In this hilarious movie about life in Los Angeles, Steve Martin’s character loves to take in the art at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) in his own unique way. I roller skates through the grand halls of the museum while looking at the art. I thought “That’s how I want to experience an art museum”, not so much on roller skates, but experience it how I want to experience it. It inspired me to quit trying to fit into that acceptable stoic museum behavior and instead go enjoy the art the way I want to. So I began going to more museums and started having fun. I let the art filter in and let myself respond how ever I naturally felt, Just like Steve Martin in L.A. Story. I found that more times than not the art makes me feel a kind of euphoria that makes me get very comedic. I quickly walk through the different room and make funny anecdotes about different pieces.
I often get dirty looks from that stoic museum visitors or the security guards, but I don’t care. Quite honestly, being an artist myself, I am quite confident the artists who created the art would much rather have someone like me enjoying the art as I will, than the stuffy viewer.
The reason I don’t care what the other people think is that I don’t have time to explain to them that my jokes, laughter, and whimsy is not an expression of disrespect. It’s an expression of the joy the art brings me. Art is about celebrating life, so I choose to celebrate with the artist who created the art! IT’s like having my own private life party with Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Picasso!
That isn’t to say that I’m just a laughing hyena the whole time, I will quite often stop and get lost in a painting that grabs my soul and my passion, and the great thing is it’s always something different. So my experience at art museums is an emotional roller coaster, but it makes me feel alive!
If I were to pick one section of a museum that inspires me the most it would be the impressionist section. I love impressionism because it goes beyond skill and technique. In order to do impressionism well, you have to connect with your emotions and translate that through every stroke. My favorites are Vincent Van Gogh, and Edgar Degas and it’s funny because those two represent the opposite ends of the spectrum within impressionism. Van Gogh is very intense and MAD with every stroke, he’s like the Heavy Metal of impressionism. He’s loud and in your face, but it’s beautiful for it’s purity and honesty. While Edgar Degas is very subtle with his emotions. He takes you on a deep thought provoking tour of emotions. Degas is like the Jazz of impressionism. He’s an unpredictable mash-up of different instruments, but finely tuned through chaos with many different layers. I love it! The other reason I love the Impressionists is because of what they represented in their time. They broke down walls and challenged the establishment concerning art. The Art Academies told them they had to paint one way and that was the only way art was done. The Impressionists said that’s bullshit and proved them wrong. I think a lot of artists take what the Impressionists did for us for granted. Without impressionism there never would have been expressionism, cubism, abstract, pop, caricature, or even cartoons. My heroes have always been the likes of John Lennon, Magic Johnson, and the impressionist. People who challenged the establishment of HOW THINGS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE, and proved to the world that anything is possible.