Art Made Mine
One of the New York Times' most popular articles at the moment comments about how our museum habits have changed, particularly with the invention of cameras. The author blames cameras for a lot of it, noting:
Cameras replaced sketching by the last century; convenience trumped engagement, the viewfinder afforded emotional distance and many people no longer felt the same urgency to look. It became possible to imagine that because a reproduction of an image was safely squirreled away in a camera or cell phone, or because it was eternally available on the Web, dawdling before an original was a waste of time, especially with so much ground to cover.But he goes on to talk about walking through Rome with a sketchbook, and links that experience to a comment about how artists approach art museums:
Artists fortunately remind us that there’s in fact no single, correct way to look at any work of art, save for with an open mind and patience. If you have ever gone to a museum with a good artist you probably discovered that they don’t worry so much about what art history books or wall labels tell them is right or wrong, because they’re selfish consumers, freed to look by their own interests.All of which reminded me of a sketch I made yesterday. Kirsten and I were rushing through the morning, between our new apartment and responsibilities of the old, but she had to stop by LACMA for a class project. We didn't linger, but there was enough time to make a quick sketch of a Giacometti. On the facing page, I scrawled:
Always interesting to recognize how much of ourselves we put into our sketching. It is, I suppose, true of writing (in the sketches and empty spaces between scrawled lines), but not always as obvious. But always the traces in what we make of something like ourselves. What: A world always trapped between ourselves and truth.I'd recognized something of myself in the sketch I'd made - and though it was true enough to Giacometti's bust, I was struck by how much of myself had slipped in. So when Michael Kimmelman writes in the NYT about the selfish capacity of artists, I recognize something of that in my sketch: Not only to make it mine (in memory), but to make it me.