I was walking through the galleries at the Museum of Modern Art and it crossed my mind that I could just as easily be in that Mall of America. It wasn’t that some spaces in the new Taniguchi building resemble mall architecture it was the people. Who were all these people? And what were they doing in the Modern? What were they looking for? What were they hoping to find?
For that matter what was I doing there? What was I hoping to find?
I’m not asking myself what is art but what do I want from it and what do I get from it? And I wasn’t looking for a pat art serves a purpose blah, blah, blah answer; I want a genuine personal response.
Why does walking into the Arshile Gorky gallery make me giddy? Why am I so thrilled by the Olafur Eliasson installation? Why trek uptown to the Hispanic Society for an intimate visit with the El Greco? Why was I so anxious to get upstate to see the Michael Heitzers? Why make that trip all the way out to Marfa Texas when there’s really nothing to see there but art? (true a few moments in the high desert is more than reward enough for the effort, but the Marfa thing is really an art thing) So why go? What’s in it for me?
I think it’s because these experiences have meaning or rather give meaning to moments in my own life. Because the possibility of possibility lies in these experiences - possibility that I know exists but didn’t or can’t see on my own; possibility that I can only begin to imagine because I can’t imagine everything on my own. And because though I don’t come from the land of the ice and snow I still want to know what it’s like in the midnight sun where the hot springs blow. I do come from someplace with its own sights and sounds but even still I can’t always understand fully my own experience with out some guidance.
If I’m honest I admit I don’t really know what those Gorky’s mean – exactly, but I know in their presence I’m aware of some many layered internal landscape that I couldn’t and still can’t get to on my own. I need him to draw me a picture.
There’s more I’m sure but that’s seems like a starting place.