Monday, September 13, 2010

Choosing people over places

My son Isaac, my cousin Matthew, and friend Taylor in front of Bumblebee at the Rt. 66 Car Show
by Elizabeth Hellstern

I think that art is meaningful, and it can change people.  But sometimes, the bigger question of art is how to get people to see it.

For example, I meant to go to the Open Studios closing reception on Saturday.  But my plans changed when my 20-year-old cousin came into town with his friend, and we went to the Rt. 66 Car Show instead.  This is my very sweet cousin who still says, "Remember the time you took me to the Frida Kahlo show at the Phoenix Art Museum?"  This outing that we went on in 2001 sticks out in his head as a memorable event.  And yet, he admits that he's never been back to the museum since.

I asked his friend, Taylor, who goes to school at ASU, if he ever gets to see plays or art exhibits.  He said no, but that he should.  "The biggest factor is time.  And then, if there's alcohol served."  Like, maybe if we had a tail-gate or something at each art opening, we could get more college students to see fine art...

Um, that's probably not going to happen.  But why is it that football and sporting events are equated with fun, while plays and art exhibits aren't?  Why is it that my cousin remembers an art exhibit he went to 9 years ago, but then has never gone to a museum since?  Why does everyone feel like they "should" go to art events, but they don't?

I'm not going to answer those questions today (perhaps next week,) but I am going to say that on Saturday we all went to soak in some super-accessible art at the car show.  While this art doesn't hang on the wall in a fancy museum, it's even better--it's three-dimensional, kinetic art. 

Ultimately, I think that the real meaning of art is that it is a reflection of the human experience.  And sometimes the human experience is about looking real cool in your wheels.  I'm sure if she were alive today, Frida Kahlo wouldn't mind going for a ride in a bright orange 1972 Firebird.

Yeah, I can totally see Diego and Frida roaring down the street in this bad boy. Frida would be driving, of course.

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