“If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.”
--Audre Lorde

Hey readers! If you'd like to have an account on this site (so that you can post comments), or for further information about what you see here, get in touch through the contact page.

User login

Syndicate content


The Hand in the Museum

Submitted by alycia on Wed, 12/19/2012 - 12:11

I visited the Morgan Library for the first time yesterday. I initially went because the Beatrix Potter exhibit ads stirred up some nostalgia about reading those little books as a kid, but while I was there the "Dürer to de Kooning: 100 Master Drawings from Munich" exhibit was really what drew me in.

I don't know that I've been to an all-drawings show. Ever, or in a while at least? But the thing that really struck me was the fact that these images were constructed, through the body and through the hand. I really liked seeing a Dürer in person, after having spent at least a few hours of my life copying the works of the old masters in art school. I kept thinking about how the hand of the artist just isn't as present when you look at a room full of paintings, and how amazing it was to see each line on these pieces, and how each makes up the whole. I was really overwhelmed by the constructed-ness of the pieces, and their ephemerality too. The show made me want to draw again, an urge which I haven't had in a long time.

While it was interesting to be in a museum focused on the book, the drawing, and the page in a way many others are not, I felt conflicted about the museum overall. I don't really enjoy seeing items that rich white dudes took from Africa on their adventures to fill their "treasure rooms." And yet, there I was, staring at them and all the other pieces that it took all the banking to acquire. Museums, Art, wealth, New York--I'm in awe, and I'm repulsed. Where is the struggle and the reality of the everyday?

We went to see The Hobbit friday, and a small child sat behind us. For the first 20 minutes she asked a lot of questions about the movie (before she fell asleep), one of which was whether she knew how to ride a horse ("oh, I know, you just sit on it"). A few Christmases ago, we were in a different movie theater, halfway through a film, when a child turned to their father and said, "Dad, what IS grit?" Whatever it is, I really feel its absence sometimes.

Creative Commons license icon Creative Commons license icon
This work is licensed under a Attribution Share Alike Creative Commons license