I guess I should make it clear that I am not a lover of abstract art. My daughter loves it and always has but, to me, much of it is not art. I can appreciate the talent involved in creating much of it. Take Hide and Seek, for example.
This piece, done by Pavel Tchelitchew, shows talent. While I do not really like it, in fact find it rather gruesome, I can appreciate the work that went into it. We stared at this painting for quite awhile.
But other pieces just made no sense to me. Like the metal exit sign nailed to a piece of wood. I could have done that. Or the rectangular bricks placed in a rectangle. I truly believed, until reading the accompanying placard, that that one was simply a platform for a sculpture that wasn't there. Even the black painting was confusing.
Ann, Jenny, Ali, and I spent quite a bit of time with this one. The placard for this one gave us clues that it wasn't just painted black. There was a grid dividing the painting into black with reddish hues, black with greenish hues...well you get the idea. As you can see from the picture, it really just looks black.
So this morning, Ali and talked about the museum. I asked what her favorite part was. She said she loved the chromed sculpture. Someone had chromed a cabbage, a pencil, earthworms, and a lollipop. I said I thought that was just strange. And then I said I could have done that. Ali's response, "But you didn't!" And then she continued, "If you're not talented, you need to be creative. Those people are creative. They see things differently and create pieces no one else thinks about." It reminded me of the TedTalk I had just watched on the way home from the city. This man creates art with an xray machine. I think I could do that. But, as Ali says, I didn't. So he is creative and I am not.
But I kept thinking of what Ali was trying to teach me. It really is all about perspective. She and I looked at the same art work. I laughed and she gasped. She looked at pieces I thought were ridiculous and was in awe.
Of course, at this point, the teacher in me came out. Isn't everything we do all about perspective? How many times have I had a student who came with a reputation for being a terror and I loved him? How many times have I had a child in my class who annoyed the heck out of last year's teacher and I couldn't wait to see her every day? And then I wonder, what if we could force a change in perspective just to make things work out for the best. Imagine that child who I really don't like. What if I could look at that child the way I looked at Hide and Seek. I might not like it much but I can sure admire the talent and creativity inside. How much better would my year be? And how much better for that child? Something to think about. Thanks for the lesson, Ali.