Saturday, March 11, 2017

Missing the Wall Notes

Where: American Art Museum

When: through March 19, 2017

I've learned, throughout my years of visiting museum exhibits, that sometimes you don't appreciate what you have until it's gone.  Notably, I thought I'd manage just fine without the National Gallery East Building, but I was very happy when it re-opened.  Nothing like seeing modern art hung in the West Building to make you long for all those I. M. Pei angles.

I had a similar experience this week at American Art, when I went to see the Isamu Noguchi show.  I found his art difficult to fathom - the picture in the post is typical.  My reactions to the works were variations on the theme of "what is that?"  I gather they're meant to be both ancient and modern, but I could have used a bit more guidance to understand them.  And this is when I realized how much I rely on wall notes.

Up to now, I confess, I'd taken them for granted.  I walk into a show, I read the general explanations of whatever's on display, and then I read about individual works as I make my way through.  Granted, not every piece has a note, but enough of them do that I feel like a kindly friend is providing information.  Well, this show has none of that.

There's an introduction at the beginning (or end, depending on where you enter) and a couple of paragraphs for each section of the display, and that's it.  For some pieces, I couldn't even find a name tag.  The tags that are there are the color of the wall paint, so they're hard to see, which doesn't make one's experience any easier.  In one section, there are two couches and a coffee table - I'm pretty sure they're art, but a group of people were sitting on the couches, which made me wonder.  Surely the guards would have shooed them away if they weren't supposed to sit there?  Who knows?!

Ironically, the idea that I think will stick with me from this show was from the bit of information concerning the "outer space" section: outer space is always associated with the future, but is billions of years old, and mostly rocks.

Verdict: You might want to read up on Noguchi before you see this show, as there's not much info on offer.

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