11 February 2008

Writer's Island 2/12/08 "Changed"


by Constance

Sculpture today tries

to distress and alarm.

It should back off,

and allow us to gape,

awestruck on its

monolithic vestiges

as we once did at great

paintings from dead

masters. Museums

carry Carrara marble

busts, gloriously veined,

polished oak and walnut

statues, reclining, age-

darkened bronze generals,

enameled and gilded Egyptian

glass. Bisque fired raku,

black-figure amphoras,

ivory netsuke.

In the Modern wing,

quartz rocks are dropped

into a pile of carefully

arranged abstraction,

clashing with artistically

set jumbles of junk throw

away, usually for good

reason, now resurrected.

Mixed up rusted metals,

plastic poured in molds

to replicate the living

palm trees outside the

window. We gaze intently,

desperate to connect to last

week’s trash, cheeks red

and strained. Equally

embarrassed, contemporary

sculpture stares back, tail

wagging, an anxious, seven-

legged puppy sculpted

from the brush of

Hieronymus Bosch.


paisley said...

what an awesome take on this prompt... it has been so long since i have actually been to a museum... i am thinking i need to go.. thank you for this inspiration......

Steve said...

Different and inspirational.

Thanks for stopping by!

gautami tripathy said...

Last week I went around visiting Museums and Monuments.

This describes some of my feelings.

Constance said...

Paisley, thanks. I think this is my reaction from my memories of going to museums like the Met as a kid, compared to some I've been to recently. Not that I don't like some modern art. Far from it. :)

Constance said...

Steve - thanks!

Constance said...

gautami- I'm still undecided on a great deal of modern art. Not much moves me like some of the older works.
Could be me. Still pondering.

Gabriele C. said...

Lol, I don't get moderns art. I've been living less than an hour from the Documenta in Kassel for ages but never bothered to visit it.

Constance said...

Gabriele - after all those years of art school , I 'get' it. I just don't like a lot of it. *g*

anthonynorth said...

You raise the subject well. I dislike most modern art, but in a sense it is correct to what art should be.
Art reflects life. Today we live in a non-permanent, throwaway society. Art reflects that - and it will be complete when they throw it away :-)

Gabriele C. said...

That happens on the Documenta. Some cleaning women once shrubbed a bath tub Joseph Beuys had intended to be dirty, and this year the town cleaning team scraped colour off a road that was supposed to be art.

SweetTalkingGuy said...

Hi Constance, art is such a subjective thing sometimes, but I like the way you wrote your poem. I love the final thought 'Equally embarrassed,etc.'

Constance said...

anthonynorth - it probably all came about because I was rereading "The Shock of the New" by Hughes. It's hard to put modern art in context with out some help...

Constance said...

Gabriele, can't tell the forest from the replication? :)

Constance said...

sweettalkingguy- I think most art wants to BE something, and us artists misinterpret the goals. Since viewer is supposed to meet art halfway, they can both be guilty of misinterpretation. :)

keith hillman said...

It seems to me there is classic art and modern art and to try and compare them is a hopeless task. In London we have two major galleries - Tate London and Tate Modern. They are miles apart in distance as well as style. Me? I love 'em both and treat them as two totally different experiences.

Constance said...

Ah, but classic and modern art have much in common - at the root, it is still Art, so comparisons are not only inevitable, but necessary.
I like trying to find the classic influences in modern art when I go to museums. :)