Yesterday my husband Chris and I went to an art museum. Our kids are away at camp, so we thought it was a good time to get some culture. After all, there are only so many times you can watch Sex Sent Me to the ER on TLC before drool starts pooling on your chin. (One. One is the amount of times you can watch Sex Sent Me to the ER before drool starts pooling on your chin.) So, feeling rather sophisticated, off we went.
We walked into the museum hoping to be inspired.
We walked out of the museum hoping we could reverse the credit card charges.
Because while the museum itself is gorgeous, some of its collection left us shaking our heads. Like really shaking our heads. Like things were bouncing around inside our skulls we were shaking our heads so much. I know modern art is a perennial thing to make fun of and of course we’re both loathe to be the stereotypical dumb American philistines who look at modern art and say, “What the hell? My kid coulda done that,” and yet—
What the hell, my kid coulda done this:
“Is that just…tile stacked on pallets?” I asked Chris with my index finger carefully placed under my lip so I appeared smart.
“Maybe to you it is,” he whispered, with his index finger carefully placed under his lip so he appeared smart, “but what it actually represents is man’s endless, futile struggle against God, the devil and nature.”
“It does?” I replied with my index finger now scratching my ear so I appeared to be a hillbilly.
“Oh, hell no,” he answered with his index finger now checking movie listings on his iPhone. “I think it looks like our stupid garage.”
Which it definitely does because we’re currently having two bathrooms remodeled and there’s tile stacked everywhere:
I showed the museum tile picture to our contractor Jimmy this morning and he yelled, “Hey! I’m an artist! Who knew?” Then I suggested that he apply for a grant after he reinstalled our toilets and we had a good laugh until I tripped on a hammer and needed Neosporin.
Here’s yet another highlight from the museum:
I know to you it may look like a few squares of copper tile someone forgot to finish installing, but it’s so much more than that. In fact, the plaque next to it reports that, “The flawed industrial character of the copper plates negates any pretension of classic sculptural processes, and focuses attention instead on the natural weathering of the material as a record of its own history.”
Shit, if that’s the case, I’m going to start charging admission to our bathroom and then hire a few docents to quietly walk around in blazers reminding people to keep their hands to themselves and not touch the objets d’art. Don’t believe me? Then take a look at my masterpiece as of this morning:
“The missing pieces of flooring and exposed plumbing reflect the struggle between the industrial world and the artist’s celestial life as well as also commenting on the fact that Larry the Tile Installer said ‘Fuck it’ and knocked off early to go fishing last Friday.”
Next up at the museum, Chris almost lost it when we saw a wrinkled piece of pink fabric hung on the wall. That’s it. A wrinkled piece of pink fabric. Hung on the wall. Per the museum, the fabric is an “unexpected and poetic use of materials that embraces the value of looking without prior judgment—of observing with an open mind.”
Per Chris, the fabric is “horseshit” and “Remind me again why didn’t we just go see Planet of the Apes?”
But then we finally came to an installation that didn’t look like something we had in our own house:
Of course I don’t need to tell you that the thousands of pennies, stack of communion wafers and ceiling made out of cow femurs is a comment on 18th century Jesuit missions in Argentina. You knew that, I’m sure. Who wouldn’t? But I admit that I didn’t much care for this art, and based on the sign next to it, neither do most museum visitors:
Maybe that’s why the docents we saw next to it were wearing glasses.
But even worse than paying $20 to look at framed pictures of white that expose the hypocrisy of the paradigm shifts prevalent in turn of the century marriages was the fact that on the one day we finally got sick of just sitting at home watching cat videos, on the one day we drove all the way downtown, paid for admission and paid for parking, what did we happen to see in the museum?
Get me some pennies to throw.