Sunday, February 1, 2009

Please. Not Louise!

Hmm... What art shall I share with you this week?

Well, Maybe I'll just share with you a particular quandry I'm having that I haven't quite thought my way out of just yet.

What, to you, belongs in an art museum? What does it look like? What if I say "sculpture" in particular? What would you would look at and go, "Yea, I could see that in a museum!" Would you conjure up something like this, perhaps?:

Constantin Brancusi's Sleeping Muse I, 1910.
Or, could you stretch your imagination enough to include this in your mind's museum:

Karin Sander's Ostrich Egg, 2005.
And how about this bizarre little arrangement (the artist is the woman in the background):

Louis Bourgeois in front of a sculpture of hers I can't quite remember, sometime in the 60's...

You guessed it. All three reside (or will soon reside) in my museum. The first two are examples I've used in a little educational packet I'm putting together for teachers about all the "magical media," or fantastic things that art can be made of. Brancusi's austere, abstracted Sleeping Muse is made of marble; she was my example of a traditional medium (as of course, you know, marble sculptures date back to the ancient times, all those crazy naked Greeks...). The 2005 work Ostrich Egg is made of... an ostrich egg! Cooked and polished and probably very well looked after by our conservation staff. It sits right next to the Brancusi Muse in the galleries. I think the curators wanted visitors to have to think about the juxtaposition between the two similarly shaped and colored, but expressively different, works.

The third photo is another marble sculpture by a famous, eccentric artist named Louise Bourgeois, now in her 97th year, and still producing expansive, acclaimed works. If literature's archetypes were suddenly real today, Louise would be the perfect candidate for the crazy old witch position. A massive retrospective of her work is coming to the Hirshhorn later this month, taking up the entire 2nd floor until next winter. I'm being trained currently to become an "interpretive guide," basically an undercover tour guide who walks the galleries and slips pieces of art historical information in among the various conversations going on around her. And my only responsibility is the Louise Bourgeois exhibit.

I hate Louise Bourgeios. I'm going to say that flat out. You will probably hear more of why I hate her later, as she is going to be like the guardian demon watching over my internship: always there, always unpleasant. Truly, that marble up there is about as serene and unoffensive as she gets. So why is she in the museum? I'm constantly asking myself that. Why do so many of the art historians and contemporary art buffs--the people I'm looking towards to guide my career and my intellectual development-- adore this old bat? Take a moment to consider her work (keep in mind that the various anatomical parts that come to mind when you look at that marble are EXACTLY what she wanted you to see) and if you have ideas, fire them at me. I'm still trying to come up with my own answer.

Ok, that's it for the art. Onto my life.

First, I can see why people become attatched to these blog things- look at the kind compliments I've gotten:

"U have a... Mark Twain kinda vibe to ur prose. easy and enjoyable line to line. i never feel like I want to read ahead cuz the current sentence is so nice to be with. and dood... seriously...i don't hand out compliments like that just for sh*%$ and giggles." -Johnny Jam is the man. And also, as if you couldn't tell, a great writer himself.

And then there's a certain aunt who writes me to inquire, "So... does Big Man have a brother??" :)

But of course, the winner is still my little sister Marie, who just had this to say: "You look like a brown popsicle in that picture with your coat, Lindsey." hahaha I laugh because it is TRUE.

Well, I feel like I don't have as much to write this time, mostly because it's been less of a get-out-and-explore-the-territory week. I've adopted an ok-I'm-learning-my-way-around-I-think-I-got-this type of attitude. Walking with my chin up, like Obama as he walked underneath the Capitol on his way to the inaguration platform (the black guys I stood in front of were totally inspired when he did that. They loved it.)

I'm still smiling to myself at least once a day out here, as I pass by the most interesting people in the world in downtown DC. There was the Latino prophet on the street corner, reminding me that "hey-soos" was coming. I smiled and thought to myself, "I know. And I'm doing the best I can to be ready for him!" There was the bum who I've seen come into the Hirshhorn every friday to listen to the "gallery talks" we have, which is where the curator or an educator leads a discussion about a work to the gathered public. The bum is very dirty but very respectful and has very thoughtful questions for the speaker. Always stands in the background, or sits up against the wall. I love him.

Then there are my roommates, who are just as kind a duo as I could ask for. Very good at inviting me to things with them, and so I have finally made a couple new friends, and participated in a lot of courageous forays into the DC singles scene, which is... no, I won't say suffocating. That has a negative connotation. Massive? Well, at any rate, it's a lot to take in, just a little fyi for anyone who wants to know what it's like out here for the average LDS single girl. There are what feels like HUNDREDS of wonderful, talented people who every weekend congregate together at homes and restaurants and finally, the grand-daddy of the "see and be scene," the Colonial ward sacrament meetings. There's always a birthday party or scone party or something to go to, where you may chat and find out where people are from, why they're out here, and smile and laugh. It's a new experience to feel so welcomed and so much a stranger at the same time. The people here are very genial, though. And, I might add, extremely garrulous. Even to the point of being obstreperous.

....Oh yea, news. The perspicacious among you may have already guessed: I signed up to take the GRE in two weeks, on Valentine's Day. (the GRE is basically the SAT test for graduate school... only like 100x as hard, with HUNDREDS of vocab words and tricky math questions). Please, please, pray for me. I'm studying my heart out every night for it. My stack of vocab flash cards is an inch high and I have only been through a fourth of the exercises. I'm hoping my good old test taking skills haven't absconded me yet.

And I have work in the morning so away I go. I'm already tired of this grown-up gig. haha! C'est la vie. E hai una buona settimana!


Suzanne Affleck said...

Modern art never made sense to me. I can splash paint over a big piece of paper and call it art too but that doesn't qualify me as an "artist." Good luck on your exams! Let us know how you are liking DC, we may end up right next to you if Ferrin gets a job in Maryland.

Olsen Family said...

You were warned about the DC singles scene. Massive!! It is amazing to me what makes Art, Art. One Day Lindsey you can decide what Art. Good luck on your test. If you need a break we aren't terribly far!!!

Summer Lewis said...

I'm sure your study skills have not yet absconded you. Use the words, love the words, embrace them! I love reading your blogs and agree with your art commentary. That is always nice!

Jayci said...

Sorry the old bat will be ... how did you put it? ... the guardian demon watching over your internship. HA! But I am looking forward to more posts on the subject to both learn about her and see your fun vocabulary grow as you depict your dislike of her and her art.

Good luck with all the test questions - i hope you are pleasantly surprised with your results, and your vocabulary, as far as I can tell, is well beyond most people's. I think you will do great! I'll be praying for you.

Anonymous said...

Any "scone" parties this week? And PS...thanks for sharing the meanings of all those big words you used. I felt very smart...for at least 5 minutes. Now I've forgotten them already. Ah...old age. Oh well! I have you to stimulate my mind and make me feel young again each week! Looking forward to today's blog! Love you, MOM