Monday, June 11, 2012

Never Twice the Same

Three Squares Gyratory (1971) by George Rickey, with the Getty Museum in the background.

Why do I so love visiting museums, art galleries, and botanic gardens?

The easy answer would be that I like looking a beautiful objects. That's true, but there's more to my adoration. Perhaps, it's about change. The concept is pretty easy to grasp when you think about the gardens; each month has a different set of flowers, different colors, and different scents. Although it's the exact same place that I might have visited a few weeks back, the subtle changes make for a vivid new experience.

Likewise, the way in which art galleries cycle through exhibits, it requires effort to see the same show twice. Yet, with most museums, asides from temporary exhibitions, the collection doesn't really change. So, why do I get such a thrill from visiting and revisiting such venues?

Detail of Dancer Taking a Bow (1877) by Edgar Degas

Because I and my circumstances change, the cultural venues speak to me in different ways, capture my imagination afresh with novel insights. My moods and interests shift from day to day, week to week, altering me in subtle but significant manners. Just as the changing of flowers makes it so that a botanical garden is never twice the same, so too is it that my personal changes make each viewing of a stable museum collection a unique experience.

This came to mind when recently visiting the Getty Museum. Unless there's a new temporary exhibit, the collection rarely changes. It is somewhat trendy in the Los Angeles art world to bash on the Getty's "old school" style, a pretty display but little by way of innovation.

Perhaps, there's some truth in this criticism. The Getty isn't my favorite venue, but, if approached with an open mind, there is still a whole lot to appreciate. This post features a few works that caught my fancy on my recent visit.

Robert Irwin's Central Garden

Walking Flower (1952) by Fernand Leger

The Jousters (1963) by Alexander Calder


No comments:

Post a Comment