Monday, March 17, 2014

Institute of Contemporary Art

So on our day at UPenn, we stopped by the Institute of Contemporary Art.
When I was looking for things to at UPenn, (this was before I found out how huge the campus is) I found out that this place was free to visit thanks to a grant that someone donated. I was really grateful for whoever gave that grant. Contemporary art is something that I'm trying really hard to learn to appreciate, but I'm not quite to the point that I'm okay with spending money on to see it. I usually end up not understanding or disliking 75% of it, so it's a bit harder for me to rationalize the money.

The other thing that I was immensely grateful for was the kind staff. They didn't say one thing about me bring Madeleine and our stroller in with all the stuff dangling off it. I overheard the man at the front desk give someone a long list of what was expected out of visitors. There were a lot of rules, and they didn't tell me any of them. It was sweet of them to not stress me out and just let me enjoy the museum. 

They do let people take pictures though, so I actually get to share some of the things I liked in the museum. :)

This was the beginning of the 2nd floor exhibit. I loved the big 50 for some reason. The typewriter was working, and they encouraged people to write something and leave it for the museum. Madeleine loves pressing buttons, so she left them her own message in gibberish. 

Right around the corner was this beautiful room.

I loved the balance of color to white space. The whole wall on the left was covered in the big bold paintings and to the left of them (not pictured) were two framed quilts and this statue titled "Pyramid Pumpkin."

This is the kind of contemporary art I don't really understand. It was cute though? So I took a picture.

This notebook was also in the room. Everyday of the exhibit, they turn the page. This was actually one of my two favorite art pieces in the museum. I love the ugly scribble, contrasting the beautiful art piece on the other page. It made me think that every artist starts somewhere and practice of any type is valuable. It motivated me to keep drawing, with the hope that my own ugly scribbles can one day be more like the beautiful picture on the right.

Around the corner were a few old tvs. I'm not sure what was on them, but it was part of a film exhibit.(Madeleine was being good and I figured I shouldn't test her by making her sit.) 

There was another movie half way down this hall way with a little nook for people to sit in and watch. Madeleine loved looking out the window at all the people below, giving me a chance to rearrange the stroller so I could carry her and the stroller down the stairs.

The hallway

In the nook
These stairs are just decorative, but I thought they were pretty cool.

The first floor...well...I didn't like almost anything on it. While it looked a little bit interesting, I didn't get the point. The funny thing was several of the artist had little essays explaining the art, and it just made me more confused.

I kept walking around trying to find something to connect with and of all things it was the carpet.

The piece is titled Carpet (Office and Ollie's Room) by Rodney McMillian.
When I read the title of the piece, my heart softened a bit at the ugly piece of carpet on the wall. I have no clue who Ollie is, but let me tell you, if Madeleine's floor could speak, it would have a lot to say. It would probably complain about all the food she throws under her little table. It would probably talk about how Matt fell asleep on it last night when he was trying to comfort her after she woke up screaming from teething pain. It might say that her running her cars all over it tickled, or that her dancing made it laugh. 

This hideous carpet does have a story to tell. Maybe even an important one, but I would have never thought about any of it, except for the fact that some guy named Rodney decided to see if he could make people think about it.

It's kind of weird to me to think about the carpet. Matt and I are currently working on minimizing our lives. While I'm pretty sure we'll never become true minimalist, we are drastically editing down our possessions. We don't own much compared to many people, and we had already gone through lots of our stuff when we moved to Princeton. At this point, most of the things we are getting rid of are sentimental. This ugly carpet made me realize that it's okay to stop and pause and think about the items that we are getting rid of, but in the end, I don't need to hold on to them. They all have to leave our home at sometime, otherwise they just sit there in our home museum with no purpose but to remind us of the past. 

When I got home, I was able to let go of a lot more of our things. Even if I didn't understand or even like 90% of the stuff at the Institute of Contemporary Art, I did leave learning something new, and it did change my perspective in a way that helping me achieve one of my dreams. 

Which I guess is really what contemporary art is all about.

1 comment:

  1. I think you're not alone in not liking contemporary art! I've grown to like it more and more over the years, though there are still pieces I just don't get. But as I've started to like it more, I've found myself really enjoying it--finding abstract pieces that really speak to me in ways completely outside of the piece itself, much like the carpet spoke to you. I'm glad you found something you were able to enjoy!