Yesterday I visited a library to check a reference regarding phospholipid content of foods which I linked to in a recent post. While there was time left on the parking meter I visited an art museum as libraries and museums are my two favorite places or at least on the top ten list. Reading the history or other brief description written by the artist about a piece can be informative but I always prefer to first experience the artwork myself without other interpretation. A modern art piece was disturbing to me but it was the discontinuity between my impression and the artist’s description.
The title of the piece was all I read and it was bold “The Masterpiece” – having just briefly toured a few halls of more ancient oil painting masterpieces I wasn’t sure what to expect from such a blank slate but arrogant title. Usually artist’s don’t self title their a masterpiece that is left for others to collectively regard a work over time. The piece was in a room all by itself and it turned out to be one of those hand shadow creations – look children I can make a rabbit on the wall with my hands in front of a bright light – an antique parlor game for when people didn’t have television or radio or record players but when they had piano and string quartets for entertaining at gatherings. This modern take on hand shadows created a silhouette of a man and a woman which is also an antique parlor art form – anyone can create a picture of loved one without the expense of hiring an oil painter to come live at the family home/mansion for several months of sittings while the piece was painted. A shadow silhouette can quickly be drawn in one sitting and then cut out from dark paper which is then mounted on a white background recreating the shadow silhouette for a long lasting portrait of the loved one.
On closer inspection the mass of objects that formed the hands creating the hand shadow were blobs of silver and some could be seen to be small animals. My thought wow what a powerful statement – humanity’s destruction of the environment captured in a shadow.
I then read the description on my way out and was unpleasantly surprised to find that it was simply the artist’s, a couple, shadows and they felt their casts of roadkill type animals in silver were changing something ugly into something beautiful. “Dust to dust, ashes, to ashes” – the roadkill would have returned to the Earth and continued in the circle of life, cast in silver they are removed from their natural life cycle and cast into a perpetuity as a tribute to an altered form of the modern selfie or older form of a quick portrait of a loved one – this couple will always have their shadow silhouettes portrayed in hand shadow form – formed from the bodies of creatures that mankind is killing in ever greater numbers. The silver cast is a temporary showing so it may be visiting an art museum near you at some point in time. (The Masterpiece by Tim Noble and Sue Webster)
A shadow and nature in the form of trees – my preferred art media in capturing light:
“Art is in the eye of the beholder, and everyone will have their own interpretation.” (goodreads.com)
― E.A. Bucchianeri, from the book
Another area of the museum had pens and sticky notes and asked viewers to add their own thoughts about art, my addition:
Art challenges the mind and educates the spirit.
And sometimes it may cleanse the spirit – nature paints the most beautiful canvases in my opinion:
We are all entitled to our own opinions and thoughts in a free society. freedom to disagree. An article by an economic theorist is available which discusses the topic of freedom in more detail. See The Essential F. A. Hayek, 1. “The Case for Freedom“, part of a free ebook collection published by The Foundation for Economic Education fee.org
Disclosure: This information is shared for educational or entertainment purposes within the guidelines of fair use.