A different way to look at art in a museum….

Picture Taken by Diane Alber

I went to the National Gallery of Art this week in Washington DC and it is one of my favorite gallery’s. I was really excited to see the Warhol Headlines expo. As we entered the exhibit, my husband said to me, “is this suppose to be good art?” and I replied with “yes”, I was a little frustrated but I understand he is trying to appreciate art so I explained to him that Andy Warhol had an obsession with media and celebrities and he is expressing it in these works of art. Overall Warhol’s work was a reflection of a period where he felt that the ordinary elements of life were being overlooked because of all the chaos and turmoil in the world, and these headline pieces tied it all together. All the headlines he had in this exhibit distracted society of what really was important, and in turned inspired him to create other works of art like the soup can. The classic Campbell soup can. When you think about the time in which they were painted, they really express simplicity as well as progress in technology.  Soup was traditionally made in kitchens by women, particularly moms and grandmothers, which represent home and family. They would make the soup from scratch and spends hours cooking it. And now all of that can be found in a can and be made in minutes?  So does that mean that you don’t need a mom in the kitchen anymore to make this comfort food? I think there was a fear in the 1960s that technology was robbing society of its individualism, everything was becoming automated. So…you see? would you have thought there could be all of that behind a painting of a soup can?

Another artist’s work that was there was Jackson Pollack, also one of my favorites. I can’t tell you how many times I go to an art gallery and the first thing that pops out of someone’s mouth is….”I could do that…?” or “you call that art?” I can understand people’s ignorance towards art but what I don’t understand is there ability to try and look at differently. Because I come from a  family of accountants I am used to people not understanding art, but maybe I can put it in perspective. I was able to give you a little history of Warhol, do you think it might change the way you view his art? possibly?  When you look at a Pollack painting, you need to understand two things….one, Pollack did have the ability to paint other things like still life and landscapes, and he understood the fundamentals of art and two….He was like every other artist and wanted to get noticed. So, Pollack was in the era of Picasso and he needed to develop a style of art that had never been done before. If you have viewed a Pollack piece they are quite terrific. Even though it’s splatter paint it is done in a way that is very uniform and appeasing to the eye, along with having such expression behind it, and no you could not do it, i’ve tried and I have an art degree for goodness sake. Now I would agree that some art is a little questionable and I can’t tell you I understand all of it, but everyone is going to get something different out it and the next time you are looking at a piece you just don’t understand, you should ask yourself, “what was the reason why they painted something like that?” and the answer is sure to surprise you.

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