Tuesday, May 10, 2011

8 Questions About Art and America

(image via downtownkc.org)

America: Now and Here was an absolutely fabulous exhibit! It's easily the best exhibit I've ever seen at the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center. If you haven't seen it yet, you should definitely check it out before it leaves Kansas City. (Also, check out Average Jane's post about it for some preview pics.)

In a handout at the show, I was given 8 questions to think about while looking at the exhibit, and I'd like to take the time to answer those questions today - partly for myself, partly to keep the dialogue of this exhibit going beyond its walls. I invite you to answer these questions for yourself as well, either in the comments, in your own blog, or just in your mind.

So here we go!

1. When you hear "Great American Journey," what comes to mind?
The seasonal migrations indegenous tribes followed, Lewis & Clark's journey to the Pacific Northwest, immigrants moving from the East to claim land out in the Wild West, steamships and barges moving along the rivers, the first long-distance train journeys, the first long-distance automobile rides and, bringing it back to me... road trips I've taken with my family or friends.

2. Can you select on work of art - a song, symphony, musical, poem, movie, novel, play, painting, sculpture, photograph, dance - that best represents America to you?
Absolutely not. To me, America is too large an idea/experience to be contained by any one form of art.

3. What makes a great conversation?
Give and take. Truly listening. Being open to new ideas. Compassion, respect and courtesy.

4. What is the role that art plays in American identity?
It probes our ideas about ourselves and exposes aspects of our identity that often don't come to light during the regular course of a day.

5. What message do you want to send to our country?
Together we can accomplish magnificent things, but we spend most of our time bickering. Doesn't that seem silly?

6. What does your America sound like?

Great dance music, laughter, tears, screaming orgasms, gibberish, echoes through the ages, gunfire, sirens, the sound of playing children, bird songs, cat meows, cicada trills, wind through the trees, ocean on the shore, death rattles, arguments, the cries of caged animals, chainsaws, pages turning, TVs blaring, drums pounding, the gentle hum of conversation and the nearly silent sound of innocence being lost...

7. How can art bring us all together?

By giving us a shared experience, by tapping the collective unconscious, by allowing us to laugh at ourselves, by allowing us to grieve, and by helping us to dream.

8. What place in America inspires you?
All wooded places and other wild lands, and, alternatively, big cities where lots of exciting things are happening.

Related posts:
Recommended Stops for Your First Friday
Arizona Shooting: Tragic But Telling
Sociological Discussion: Music Videos & America

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1 comment:

Mary said...

Great post May. Love the peek into your world view.