I’m embarrassed to admit that it had been several years since I last visited an art museum. Since that last experience, I have moved to Arizona and now the Phoenix Art Museum is less than three miles from my home. It would be really embarrassing to let too much more time go by without checking it out. So this past weekend (with the opportunity of a “first date” upon me), this museum sounded like the perfect destination.
I appreciate getting to see, in person, works by the Masters as well as the inherent mystery behind ancient collections and recovered art, but it seems that with any city art museum I visit, it’s the contemporary art that really gets me excited. My time spent this weekend was no exception. Sometimes it’s the dramatic simplicity that I love (I’m truly a minimalist at heart) and other times it’s the uninhibited presentation—a lack of fear for presenting a vision as art. Both approaches always get my wheels turning and thinking about possibilities in my own art.
I’m not going to bore you with a run down of everything I liked at the museum (for art is personal anyway, and who’s to say you’d like the same things as I anyway?), but I do want to tell you about the piece that made the biggest impact on me on that day of my visit. It was called Mass (Colder Darker Matter) and was by artist Cornelia Parker (1997). This was an installation piece made of burnt wood, wire and string. Pieces of charred wood were suspended on pieces of string and were arranged from larger pieces in the center to the smallest bits around the outside. It was rectangular in its finished format, yet it reminded me of an explosion that was frozen for a second in time. Both haunting and beautiful, I went home to research more about it. I discovered that the pieces were actual charred remains of a Texas church that was struck by lightning! I also learned that cold dark matter is a scientific term describing something that exists in the universe, yet remains mysterious and unquantifiable. Cool.
Have you been to your local museum lately? Whether or not you have any “first dates” planned in your future (though, in case you were wondering, it set the stage for a really great date), I recommend you give it a try to recharge your creative muscle.
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