i don’t get it

I am a museum person.  I like all types of museums — history, art, science — I do not discriminate.  There’s something special to me about consciously curated corners and well-researched memorandum.  I like moving lazily carefully from one exhibit/display to the next.  That can also make me a poor museum companion for those who do not like to *absorb it all*.  (The sis and I were too compatible and spent too much time in one wing of the Prado so that we had to basically run through the rest to get to a few pieces we really wanted to see!)

On Saturday the hubs and I visited the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston (CAMH).  I especially like the fact that this museum is free — not just because I’m on a tight budget, but rather because I like the idea of making art accessible to everyone.  The current exhibition is called Dance With Camera. As stated on the CAMH website:

“Dance with Camera is an exhibition that considers artists and dancers who make choreography for the camera. The exhibition features art works in film, video, and still photography that exemplify the ways dance has compelled visual artists to record bodies moving in time and space. Featuring 26 artists and filmmakers, Dance with Camera has been organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, and is curated by Jenelle Porter, ICA curator.”

{read this and more here}

When we entered the main exhibition, the room was completely dark save the 10+ video, tv, and film projectors playing simultaneously and spread throughout the large space.  There was very little sound, just a few repeating notes coming from two or three of the films and the click-click-click of several old film projectors.  Oh and did I mention —  IT WAS SO CREEPY!  As we walked from station to station I just kept getting more and more weirded out.  Now I know that is a technical term used by only the finest of art critics, but seriously — it was weird! I felt like the images being shown would be used in some crazy science experiment gone awry – a la LOST.  There was one film in particular that was in black and white and I swear it was people tripping on some bad acid as they ran around like banshees — over and over again, with rough cuts (not a smooth edit) much like a bad stop motion.  That’s the one that put me over the edge.  I don’t think it was supposed to be that scary, but there was no stopping to smell the roses — or rather stopping to read the mounted card by each projection.  I just wanted out of that room.  It was almost a feeling of claustrophobia.

I guess my love of contemporary art is much like my love of poetry.  I will give it a college try, again and again, but most of the time — I just don’t get it.



  1. ah, you made me laugh writing about contemporary photography and contempo poetry – how true how true how true (the not-getting it part. Me, either.)

    Great anecdote about the Prado, too, running through some of it to see certain pieces after lingering.

    we’ve got it all backwards here in the States. We should be working two days and having 5-day weekends. Then show me someone who wouldn’t enjoy browsing and studying their way through museums and galleries. (except for the creepy “avant” films parts). OK, there would still be those who would remain unimpressed, but the rest of us who love those places wouldn’t have to race through to see the whole thing….

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