Monday, July 27, 2009

The Gift: Rebel in the Museum

Dress 'n Palm

Dress in Art Room


If you don't like to get in trouble, put it on your mental list never to visit an art museum with me. I have this crazy philosophy that art is for our enjoyment and participation. I don't just "ooh" and "aaah" over art; I photograph it (no flash, okay?), get too close for the guard's liking (just looking, not touching), and sometimes talk and laugh loud enough to get a hearty "shhhhhhhh..." in my direction.


It's my humble opinion that many art museums have somehow gotten off track by acting too protective. Maybe they've had some bad incidents. Still, Lewis Hyde's words about scientists who horde their ideas seem like a good parallel. He notes, "The ends of science require coordination." And when scientists forget this, they end up isolating themselves. The result? "Seen from the outside, trade secrets... inhibit the advancement and integration of knowledge. Each trade may be its own community, but there will be no 'community of science'; there may be pockets of expertise, but there will be no mechanism whereby a group mind might emerge, nor a body of theory be drawn together." (p.105, The Gift)

This past week, I was fortunate enough to have my twelve-year-old artist daughter respond to an exhibit she'd seen, by creating the dress sculpture at the top of this post (Yup, photos of exhibit to come. Shhhh, don't tell the guards). Anyway, my daughter was generous enough to let me touch and photograph her work in different settings. What began with her vision and touch continued in mine. I hope she'll keep this rebel generosity long into the future; I'll be sure to show up, laughing and talking, marveling and responding.

chiffon & feathers

Dress Sculpture, by Sara. Used with permission. Chiffon & Feathers Cape in the museum. Used. :) Photos by L.L. Barkat.

High Calling Blogs The Gift: All Our Kin
Laura's Gift of Community

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Blogger Unknown said...

Art is interactive and should be shared and studied!

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what colourful feathers!
fun stuff :-)

here is my rap poem about something in the kitchen.

1:43 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Seems like the museum staff forget what an honor it is to have a work so move a person that they crave a closer, more intimate interaction with it. That a piece of art can call me forward and make me wave back... is that not what art is meant to do?

Spiritually, the concept is even more true, appreciation leads to fascination, which leads to magnification, which leads to worship.
So to museum curators and ministry leaders I'd say: there's plenty to go around. Let's share.

10:29 AM  
Anonymous Sam Van Eman said...

Glad you brought up the collaborative piece from The Gift. I wanted to write about that, too.

12:19 PM  
Anonymous Lindsay Kate said...

Have you seen "Night at the Museum 2"? It has a hilarious scene where Ben Stiller touches an item at the museum in order to tangle with the goofy guard and swipe his ID card.

Keep taking those pictures!

2:49 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I think it would be fun to rubber neck with you! I've always gotten a bit too close for the guards liking too! I can't wait to see the photos of the exhibit. And, I know you know this, but your daughter is amazing. Must be in the genes :)

As for your question on my post? Giving too much hurting community? I believe it can definitely inhibit growth. Sometimes our relationships are too one-sided, no?

These things ebb and flow.

I need to check out the poetry challenge again!! I'm missing so much lately.

8:35 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Rick... art as interactive. Yes! So I guess it's a question of how we define interaction.

nAncY... aren't the feathers marvelous? I can't stop photographing them.

Erin... I absolutely love your description of what art can do to us. It calls, invites... we answer.

Sam... see, it finds its way... we just sit back and wonder at where it emerges. Glad you left space for me! :)

Lindsay... I LOVED THAT SCENE!!!

Laura... you've given me something to think on (the note about one-sidedness). Thanks too for your sweet words about my daughter; yes, I find her amazing. And someday let's you and I go to a museum together (don't forget to bring your invisibility cloak and share it with me. :)

2:11 PM  
Blogger Tea with Tiffany said...

Feathers mean much to me after reading The Dream Giver a couple times. Love the parable story.

So instantly I noticed these colorful ones.

Dreams do come true. And yes, you can touch and interact with them and make lots of noise too!

12:10 AM  
Blogger sojourner said...

This was cute! I love the feathered art and I must confess that I'm a multsensory art enthusiast as well.

9:42 AM  
Blogger Joelle said...

L.L., I'm moved to tears by the beautiful relationship you have with your girls, how you nurture their freedom of soul, of creativity. How you honor them and their art. You are metaphor of Mother Life, so life-giving, birthing the wonderful. Blessings on your Holy Family!

10:51 AM  

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