Friday, October 26, 2007
In Which Your Faithful Narrator Discusses Art and his Crush
Art, is just a man's name.
-- A. Warhol
Last Friday my father and I went to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, aka The IMA. There is an exhibit of Roman art on loan from the Louve, that dinky little are museum in old Paris, France. It was quite an interesting exhibit. If for no other reason than the statuary from such ancient times. Looking at a statue, or wall relief from 2000 years ago does something to a person. Well, at least me, it made me feel somewhat small and a lot inconsequential. I am just a spec on the great time continuum.
I had a strange feeling of vertigo for a bit. I imagined that some of the Biblical characters: Paul, for example, might very well have seen these very statues. The history these statues have seen.
I like the IMA. Its a beautiful facility, and its free (aside from special exhibits like the afore mentioned Roman Exhibit). Its situated just north of Indianapolis in one of the more ritzy parts of town. Right near Crown Hill Cemetery final resting place of many a famous Hoosier, a couple Vice Presidents, President, and a bunch of other ordinary folks. But I'm not talking about the cemetery, I'm talking about the art musuem.
I go to the IMA a couple times a year, I walk through and look at all the paintings and sculptures and ooh and ahh at the talent on display and then, well I have to go see my painting. Last year the IMA's "tag line," or slogan was "the IMA, its my art." Cute. But I took them to their word and I do, in fact, have a painting. Its Edward Hopper's "Hotel Lobby." I'm not sure why that painting resonates with me, though I'm sure the blond in the lower right hand corner reading has something to do with it.
Is it possible to have a crush on a painting? Or at least one of the images in the painting? I don't know, but I think I might. I often find myself just wondering what the story of the painting is. Who are is the older couple in the upper left of the painting, and what about the deskman on the upper right, he's barely visible, he is partially obscured by the desk lamp. What is the story? Hopper is known for his stark renderings of images. You might call it pessimistic art, but this painting does seem to reach out and grab me. Maybe its because I have experienced that scene, I'm sure we all have: being a motel alone with only a book for comfort. That might sound like a good time to many, but that can be disconcerting. There is a difference between being "alone" and "lonely." And the older couple, they are standing slightly apart from each other, their faces are not happy, they're almost dour. The colors of the painting are not warm, either. Even the light from the lamps is discouraging.
Then there is the blond woman, sitting there reading. Her dress just above the knee, I believe its a blue dress. She's what draws me to the painting. I want to know about her: what's she reading, what's her name, what does she do, why is she in the motel... can I buy her a drink? I tried to give her a name once, but it didn't work. No name really fit. The painting to me, I guess, is the embodiment of that moment in time that everyone shares with strangers. It usually happens when I'm in traffic, or in a line. There is a connection with someone. I get to know them through their actions, never a word passes between us. But the actions and the reactions speak the volumes. I guess I will continue to be a voyeur and watch the the scene hoping for a connection...