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.

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