25. Seeking Goof, Lewd, and Beauty

rockman_kapok_treeOne of the first times I visited the Smithsonian Art Museum I saw this painting by Alexis Rockman.  I fell in love with it.  I had to stop myself from tripping over the wire protecting it from people like me who mean well, but end up gawking for so long we fall into a trance.  The next thing you know our faces, mucous, and saliva become one with the painting.  Most of Rockman’s artwork carries a strong political message about the state of our natural environment.  Many of his pieces also combine goof and lewd in a way that forces onlooker to think about the artist’s message.  I visited the Rockman exhibit three times.

When I return to the Smithsonian I am always hoping to find an exhibit as great and inspiring as the collection of Rockman paintings.  I have been disappointed.  The exhibit documenting the evolution of video game graphics wasn’t so bad, but it just wasn’t what I was looking for.  Last weekend, when I pressed the elevator to get to the third floor I knew I would get off the elevator, turn to my right, and be amazed by a new collection.  Instead I found this:


I’m sorry.  I just don’t get it.  This type of art evades me.  I don’t get the purpose of it.  It doesn’t fill me with a feeling or story.  Isn’t that what art is supposed to do?

louise nevelsonFrowning harder than a kid that sculpturelost his ice-cream scoop to the pavement, I made my way to the permanent collections.  The Louise Nevelson never fails to make me wonder how something so beautiful could be so simple.  I got up close and personal with one of my favorite sculptures.  If I was a zillionaire I would buy it and pay someone to turn it into a swanky couch.

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