One 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?
Frowning harder than a kid that lost 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.