Monday, January 16, 2012

You Know You're At A Contemporary Art Museum When...

Over the weekend I headed out to Beacon, NY.  My thought was that I could get lost in the woods for a bit.  But freezing temperatures thwarted my plan.  Instead we sat in coffee shops, wandered through art galleries, watched glass-making demonstrations and visited the Dia, one of the largest contemporary art museums in the world.  My hiking boots sat unused.

The museum felt like one long massive warehouse, light pouring in to the long halls, big enough to house some of the largest art installations I've ever seen.  I was impressed.  I know absolutely nothing about contemporary art.  But I like to look at it.  I like that it makes me think.  And I'm fascinated by the things we say.  The things we hear.

This is a sampling, in no way meant to trivialize the exhibitions we saw.  Only to say, this was ordinary conversation.  This, in my opinion, proves that we saw some incredible things.

Museum Attendant (into walkie-talkie): Yes.  There are other spiders.  (long pause)  No.  Ours is the third largest.  There are two other spiders that are much bigger.

Me (to Tyler): You could be a geometric minimalist.

Tyler: You think so?

Me: Absolutely.  

Exhibit features a framed piece of paper with instructions.  I point to the stack of identical papers beneath it.

Me: It says I'm going to have an erotic experience if I follow these instructions.  Do you think I'm supposed to take the instructions home?

Tyler: I think it's part of the exhibit.

Me: But it's just a stack of papers.  Don't you think you're supposed to take it home?

Tyler: I don't know.  I don't think so.  I really think it's part of the exhibit.

Me: How do we know?

Tyler: We don't.

Tyler: What was your favorite exhibit?

Me: I liked the sculptures you can wear.

Me: So what is this made out of?

Tyler (looks at brochure): Plaster.  Wax.  Wood.  Excrement.  And Urine.

Me:  Oh.  But--  Oh...


  1. That sounds like a very interesting trip! Art is so interesting, even when it's made out of excrement. (well maybe not.)

  2. Ewwwww. my answer to the question in your title is probably, "when I don't like any of the art!" but that would reveal me to be small minded! Nevertheless, it's kind of true. I do find it thought-provoking, but not always in a good way! Sounds like you had a really lovely day though. :-)

  3. Modern art is always very interesting. Wish we had a decent museum around here.

  4. Lol! There's some modern art that is fabulous and others that leaves one wondering. Maybe they are intended as jokes for philosophers of art? Hubby and I went to the Barbara Hepworth museum and it tickled us when we read a comment by a school child who asks why everything she made had a hole in it!

  5. To each their own I guess. I've heard that all art has to to is elicit an emotional response from us. I disagree. Art must elevate. Maybe I'm simple minded but how is urine and excrement elevating? But I will say the spider is pretty cool :)