Friday, October 25, 2013

Visual rhymes and other stuff

No one asked why I care so deeply about the possible sale of DIA's art collection, which I've never even seen in person. But I feel like it is important to explain what art is worth beyond price.

In high school, I visited the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) with an art teacher.  We didn't have enough time in the galleries for all the things I wanted to explore so I went back later on my own.

Museum gallery admissions can get prohibitively expensive so I shelled out for a student annual membership so I could stop by any time I like without incurring additional expense.  Pretty soon, the museum became a third place, a home away from home.

I was already aware of Henri Matisse and spent quite a bit of time standing and sitting in front of The Girl with the Green Eyes and comparing it to Woman in a Hat. In the days before "color correctors" were sold in drugstores, I had never thought about greenish undertones in skin before. Then I noticed it everywhere.
But the value of a permanent collection goes beyond big name artists. I would never have heard about Max Beckman if I hadn't seen Woman at her Toilette.
When I looked across the gallery, I saw Landscape, Cannes and recognized the arms in the palm tree trunks.

Even though I don't live in San Francisco any longer, I enjoy revisiting the permanent collection.  They are a part of my youth; they belong to me in a deeply personal way.  While walking and looking in those galleries, I honed an ability to .see.

I simply cannot stand by and let the children of Detroit be robbed of their patrimony.   A lifelong relationship to art is not easily valued on a spreadsheet.  But it has value and meaning.

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