Thoughts from an Art Museum

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European Art: The Modern City.

Staring at Ernest Ludwig Kirchner’s “Circus Rider” (1914), I wonder why he painted it. A beautiful, energized painting, I wonder if he had a deeper point, or if he just wanted to paint a circus from the audience’s perspective.

Upon second glance, I swear I see the word “No” painted next to an audience member’s head. Is he upset because there is a man standing in front of him obstructing his view?

What does it mean?

***

I’m finding my question to all of this art is why? Why did the artist choose the subject they did? Is there always a motive behind the piece, or was it just a subject evocative beyond words? As a writer, I couldn’t tell you.

***

A young couple is making out kissing in the European Surrealism room. Cute or obnoxious? Eh, a healthy mix of both, I think. They are really cute  though.

***

Standing in front of Gerome’s “The Sentinel at the Sultan’s Tomb”, I am struck by the thought that every artwork in this place represents a story. And I am awed by this thought.

Maybe why writers find bookstores so absorbing is because they are our art museums, the display place of our art.

***

Upon looking at a captivatingly beautiful vase, an enthusiastic man exclaims “this is a great museum!” Suddenly, I remember why I love people. Because some people just get it.

***

Who comes to an art museum?

-The curious, inquisitive types

-The observers

-The artists themselves

-Artsy tourists

***

I came to an art museum to contemplatively stare out a rain polka-dotted window, as it turns out. Though, if I am to stare contemplatively out a window, this would be the one I would repeatedly choose.

***

Are there ever really new ideas? Aren’t all ideas just the same thoughts swirled around until they seem new and are then presented differently from what we might’ve already seen?

Is there such a creature as a new idea?

Maybe. Then again, maybe not.

***

Why did I come to an art museum? It’s rainy; it’s a Sunday; it’s chilly outside; its two days after Christmas.

Why did I come to an art museum?

I came to look, to learn, to listen and not speak, to see but not readily believe. I came to be silent. I came to write. I came to photograph. I came to sit in front of a big, gilded, flowery, Japanese room divider that is, in actuality, a displayed work of art.

I came to think in a place that’s not my room, a place a little more thought-provoking.

I came to an art museum to change my life. Dramatic, maybe. But that’s why I drove 30 minutes in an inconsistent downpour- to change my mind, change my perspective.

I didn’t come here for the art. I really came here to look through a familiar, yet different, kaleidoscope than my own, provided by both the art and the people gathered around it. I came to look strangers in the eyes and wonder why they’re here. Are they here changing their lives too?

Largely, though, I’m here because of Connor Franta. Because he’s right in what he says in his book A Work in Progress: we all need to figure ourselves out, and do the things we seek to do now, because we might not have tomorrow. I need to digitally disconnect, gather enough energy to overcome boredom and start doing the things I’ve always, or even recently, wanted to do.

I came to an art museum on a rainy, chilly, grey Sunday to write the first essay in changing my own life. I have begun.

A Poem a Month: Happy Birthday to Me

Happy Birthday to me

Another year past

Surely this one will be better than last

 

Happy Birthday to me

They’ll sing all day long

A song that’s ill-fitting,

A song that seems wrong

 

Happy Birthday to me

But what does this mean?

Are we celebrating an age,

Or the times in between?

 

Happy Birthday to me

Another year past

Going, going, gone

How the years move so fast

All That is Lost

Winter Forest

Winter- the most thought-provoking of all seasons. A season of death and decay, cold weather and exposed trees. The season where it seems everything we’ve lost and stand to lose comes to haunt us. And maybe this is why we seek the most comfort in the winter, because we need it not only for our chilled, frosted skin but for the parts of our soul that seem to always be in winter.

I bring this up because I think about it every winter, and this year is no different. I always consider death the most in the winter, I think because everything in nature is renewing. Therefore, it is now that all must die in order for it to come back to life- a true resurrection. The problem with winter is that the people we lose here don’t come back in the spring, like everything else does. Upon March’s return, trees will sprout green leaves again, flowers will bud. Color will return, and life with it. The rain will fall and everything will breathe back to life, eyes fluttering open. But the rain will not renew what we’ve buried six feet under. The people we lose in the winter don’t get the resurrection that the rest of nature has come to expect.

And so I hear about a girl who was 21 who died either today or yesterday. I don’t know her, but some of my friends on Facebook do. I’m shocked that she is only a year older than me, and yet she no longer exists. I can’t find what befell her, but it couldn’t have been natural or painless, if I had to guess. So I sit here in a quiet room, crowded by all these thoughts of what this means.

I have heard about a few deaths lately of people I knew in a past life and people I don’t know, but my friends know. When a death is close but still distant, I find myself thinking about what it means for the rest of us. Those who remain. What do we do? We see the risks of life and we hope that we might dodge the truly fatal blows, that we might find ourselves among the lucky. But really, what do we do? How do we continue to move when we are aware that something egregious certainly killed him and/or her.

Nobody seems to know. Still we walk on. We travel a lonely road, all of us apart. And we hear the screams of the others as we walk. I look over, knowing that you too walk a path that runs parallel to mine, but through the evergreens, I cannot see you. So I stop and I weep for you, knowing not what has befallen you, only that you could not fight it off. I weep for you, for what you’ve lost and the fact that you can no longer weep yourself because you are gone. But it is me I weep for also, because I am frightened and I cannot know what terrors lurk upon my path, the same way you couldn’t have known yours. I weep for a time, then I walk on. Because I must. Because winter will always be hollow and haunted and lonesome. Because no matter what lies ahead, the only way is on. In time, we all will choose to walk on. It is the most honorable choice we can make, knowing that, in life, nobody makes it out alive.