Eye of the Beholder
On our last trip to Gainesville to visit the college kids, they wanted to take us to a couple of the museums because they knew we enjoyed that type of stuff. And it’s true. Gardens, museums, art galleries, I enjoy walking through them and pretending I know what I’m looking at. They wanted me to take an Art Appreciation class one time, but I don’t think you need to take a class to appreciate art, just to understand why some people call certain things art to begin with and not others. I exasperated our children’s friend, Amanda, the most, because she was trying hard to get me to understand what I was looking at.
“It’s a representation of man’s anguish in a world that progresses past the point of comprehension in industrialized America and the depression that sets in and envelopes the soul.”
I stared at her. “It looks like a child built a ranch with his wooden blocks and his father painted it.”
She wasn’t going to give up, however. We stepped in front of another bright colorful display. “Now, see, this artist was using color to show the various stages of rage and disgruntlement in society of the inability to do anything to stop the momentum of a downward spiral toward destruction.”
I looked at her. I looked at the painting. I looked back at her. “It looks like he spilt his paint and hung it on a wall.”
She growled at me and walked away.
I can’t help it. Some art, I just do not understand. Call me simple or uneducated, but I am not into the abstract. I have simple tastes. Show me some scenery or some animals or water scenes, perhaps some mystical creatures, something I can gaze at and understand without thinking too hard. I don’t want to have to sit and study a painting for hours just to walk away and think, Man was that artist pissed off when he did that or what.
Art is in the eye of the beholder, just as beauty is. You may look at something and fall madly in love with it while I wonder why that particular piece is in a museum and my earlier childhood renditions of trees never survived past the refrigerator. I’m sure these people are quite talented and well worth the extortionist price tag that dangles from it. I’m not trying to take away from their gift of making distorted shapes and neon colors earn them a living. Furthermore, I am sure it is art; it’s just not my idea of art. And that’s all right. Not all of us are meant to enjoy the same things in this life. That’s proven every time Zac plays what he calls music in his bedroom. It’s not my taste, but it is his. That is what makes this world great, the diversity of lifestyles and talents and those who enjoy them. I tip my hat to all of them and apologize to Amanda for frustrating her so much at the museum.
Well, not really, that was part of the fun of the day and she knows it. She does have a good eye, however. She chose to be friends with us, after all.
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