People from the art community offer easy-to-access inroads for looking at art.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Do Art. “It’s important to understand art in depth to be able to interpret the visual world around us,” says artist David Ligare. The slogan of Youth Arts Collective is “Do Art, Be Kind.” Studies show that kids who “do art” are more cooperative and empathetic, and do better academically.
Study For Fun. That can include books, films, exhibits and plays. As Ligare puts it: “The more your eye is educated, the more you get out of life. Period.”
Don’t Try To Figure It Out. “It’s okay if you don’t know why you’re being moved,” says Museum of Monterey’s Lisa Coscino. Monterey Museum of Art’s E. Michael Whittington overheard one teen girl complain to another that she wasn’t “getting” the art at the Art Institute of Chicago. “You’re not supposed to get it,” replied the other girl, “it’s supposed to make you think.”
Talk It Out. Coscino says they have a historian on hand to talk about the historical Monterey objects upstairs, but that Steve Hauk of Hauk Fine Arts is also an indulgent guide: “On any given Saturday, five people will be yakking for hours.”
Ask Yourself Questions. Huffington Post critic Mat Gleason poses a basic one to himself when looking at art: “Does this artwork represent my values or challenge my values, and what does that say about me?”
Be Self-Centered. Find art that revolves around your interests: astronomy, skateboarding, jazz, comic books, psychology. Hauk says, “I think that natural entry can be more powerful than an academic approach because it will personally touch you right away.”
Criticize Art. “I want visitors to feel free to dislike something,” says Whittington. “A colleague and I walked three hours through a museum and we disliked everything we saw. I go back to that museum because it was so rich.”
Read The Curator And Artist Statements. John Berger, in Ways of Seeing, sets up an exercise in which he shows a painting by Van Gogh, then shows it again, with the following text: “This is the last picture that Van Gogh painted before he killed himself.” That insight changes the painting.
Go To Opening Receptions. Coscino says the art opening parties are like the icing on the art show, showy and social events. But they can also host chatty artists, collectors and patrons. Talk to them.