It’s been a long time since I went and walked around a museum. I’ve always loved art and history, but in the past I always felt it boring to sit and look at art and be expected to interpret it around a bunch of other people who want to interpret better than you. The past times I’ve been it’s been with a class, and there was always a sheet of things you have to see, things to take notes on, questions to answers, responses and interpretations to write. Going and seeing the presentation of art and history turned into homework, and when I was younger, the security guards obviously kept a closer watch on me. I would never have touched anything or done something I wasn’t supposed to, but the adults can never be too careful, right? I was always made to feel like the museum wasn’t a place I was supposed to be.
However, the other day, my friend and I decided to make a whole day of things to do, and going to the Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History seemed like a great idea. It was free with a university student ID, much to our surprise, and there was an exhibit on modern art that I was really interested in seeing. So off we went.
I really liked these two pieces, painted over newspaper print from the 1970s, classified ads to be specific. Most of the classified ads were for some work of a cosmopolitan nature, and the colors painted over them made me feel as if this kind of work and this kind of advertising were something to be ashamed of, so it’s painted over in pinks, like I might cover up my skin imperfections with makeup. I’ve always struggled with my appearance and both the pressure to look perfect but to also look natural and “makeup-free.” Somehow these pieces reminded me of that.
There was also an exhibit of Americana style homeware, and I was in love. I am such a fan of bold and blocky style from this era. Bright colors and rounded edges are definitely my home aesthetic. (Either that or a monochrome ultra-mod look). Whenever I live by myself in an apartment, I will do everything in my power to at least have a kitchen that is as “americana” as the pieces that were on display.
I also was very drawn to a more modern and more technical art piece, a dual neon flashing light display. On the left swirl, it reads “Fever and chills, dryness and sweating, north and south, east and west, over and under, front and back, up and down, in and out.” On the right swirl, with the text displayed backwards: “I’m living the good life, I’m having fun, you’re living the good life, you’re having fun, we’re living the good life, we’re having fun.”
It felt strange to see these kinds of messages flashing in my face, and made me think about how we are made to feel materialistic and always striving to make it seem like we’re having more fun than we really are, due to the influence of advertising that is always flashing around us.
I always love paintings on canvas that use oil paints. I don’t know why I’m particularly drawn to them, but I can always tell even from far away when they are painted with oils. Both my parents use oils when they paint, so it seems a very familiar look for me.
My friend and I didn’t have the time to visit any of the exhibits in the Natural History Museum, but since it’s free for us, we’ll definitely be back soon! I’ve found myself loving museums again, and I’m super glad about it.