On Saturday, David and I drove to MASS MoCA in North Adams to see new art. Housed in a former mill building, the museum is known for showcasing large installations that are often innovative and edgy.
Several shows were on display (including Invisible Cities, The Cartographer’s Conundrum, Sol LeWitt’s Retrospective), the “Oh, Canada” exhibit captivated my attention.
Curated by Denise Markonish, the show included 62 artists with over 120 works on display. Works ranged in size and scale from architectural to cinematic, including BGL’s rusted security gate ride outside the museum’s front doors, Diane Landry’s sand bottles and lights, Charles Stankievech’s dreamy purple cloud, and Michael Snow’s billowing curtain film. These dreamlike narratives that break through conventional romantic imagery of vast Canadian landscapes were my favorite pieces.
The show was exciting like a summer carnival, flashing lights, rickety ride, glowing spider woman, flower appliqued bear. It brought together a diverse collection of art based on craft, concept, and wit. While there, I thought about the importance of looking at art.
Of course, I’m biased. Art runs in my family and the subject has always been of interest to me. Beyond this, why should anyone care?
10 reasons to look at art:
1. Art rocks, hop on BGL’s ride if you don’t believe me.
2. Art makes the invisible visible, like magic.
3. Art moves you to think differently, regardless of whether you like the art or not.
4. Art teaches you new skills, like how to put together a killer model mountain from wood, plaster, and other scraps lying around your garage, grow sourdough, work out your secret grudges.
5. Art shows you what it means to be alive.
6. Art creates and destroys meaning.
7. Art develops new ways to talk about the same old shit.
8. Art helps us appreciate small moments, like watching a curtain slap against the window, engaging in a petty argument, or finding new uses for soap (and yes, I’m specifically referring to pieces in the “show).
9. Art acts as a secret weapon against oppressive forces.
10. Art starts a conversation (this one could come in handy at your next work party, date, etc…).
What do you think? Do you have anything to add to the list?