Thursday, August 09, 2007

I fear we've lost

yesterday I visited theMuseum of Modern Art in NYC. I like to view art. It usually makes me stop and think or at least stop and experience. It did yesterday.

There has to be a but, right?

I noticed for the first time a new approach to art. Maybe as I write this I'll invent a new word but it has to do with the enter, approach, snap, sign, snap, and move on ritual that so many "patrons" seem to have adopted.

There I was in a room with a Monet. The colors, the texture, the movement. And then there were others in the room. I'll use one man as my example but I think he was a member of the majority rather than the minority.

He enters the room. He is oriental. I can't remember the slogan on his t-shirt but he walks in with his digital camera in hand. The painting is huge. I walks to within two feet of it. SNAP. He takes a picture. He moves to the side a couple of feet. SNAP. He moves to the sign/label on the wall beside the painting. SNAP. He moves on out of the room looking for another painting.

The people sitting on the low bench around me are looking through maps and chatting. One or two have the museum provided audio devices.

I take a few moments. I'm not an art expert but I sat there and looked at the painting. I tried to get my mind around this huge work. The blues, the greens, the yellow/pinks. The movement on parts of the painting and the stillness in other parts. The enormity of the work. The attempt to capture and convey the scene and the feelings the scene was invoking. And the feelings I felt. And then a woman walked in front of me with her son. "This is another one. see how big it is? And this one is blue." And they were gone. felt guilty having tried to experience something. That's not the modus operandi. Checklist. Check off this room, check off this artist, check off this day, check off this museum, check off this city. Like a BINGO card. Everyone seems to want to mark off five in a row and win.

I was happy to just share a few minutes with people who found something special in life. I'm happy they weren't there to see the reaction today. I fear that western civilization has changed. Perhaps we've lost. Check that one off.