Monday, May 20, 2013

Rear view

This weekend I went to the exhibition 'More Real: Art in the Age of Truthiness' at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Here is the description :

"Over the past century, a period of unprecedented technological change and global social upheaval, once agreed-upon beliefs, or “truths,” have been cast into doubt, changing and shaping our understanding and experience of reality. More Real? Art in the Age of Truthiness features work by 28 of today's most accomplished and promising international artists who explore our shifting experience of reality."

It wasn't necessarily up my alley; it's hard for me to get into these questions of 'what is truth?' 'what is real?' 'what is reality?' They're good for mental mazes and a lack of closure. And I like conclusions.

Person A) What is real?

Person B) What do you mean, what is real. I'm sitting in a real chair, I just talked to a real person. I reckon I know real when I see it.

A) How do you know what you see?

B) I have other things to think about.

But I did learn one exciting thing.

Did you know each museum painting has its own little history on the back? Whenever it is loaned for another exhibition, is restored, or something happens to it, a label is attached describing what happened.

For this particular exhibition there were 3 or 4 paintings leaning against the wall, back out, so you could see these labels. The point was for viewers to question whether or not it was the real painting.

Did the artist really get 'Starry Night' on loan just so that it could face the wall?

I doubt it but don't really care. It was interesting to think about each painting's biography, all the places it has been and all the people who have seen it. Or maybe the labels were more like a resume. A painting could form its own personal summary:

'Well traveled, versatile painting has contributed to over 29 exhibitions covering a wide range of topics. Highly sought after due to aesthetically pleasing composition, strong viewer captivation abilities.'

HR should create an exhibition by painting label, using resume scanning software. So they couldn't look at the front, but had to come up with criteria and match the paintings to it based only on the labels.

Required qualifications:
Created during the ___ century
Strong example of the ____ period
Able to accurately convey meaning, story, and/or beauty to viewers
Up to date on all restorations, including frame
3 references (audio recording of comments accepted)

Preferred qualifications:
Demonstrated presence in all notable museums
Well represented by promotional materials (poster re-creations, magnets, pens, etc)

And the exhibit would would be about the downside of convenience, technology, and our increasingly impersonal culture - a period of unprecedented technological change and global social upheaval. Maybe it could be in the Art Institute's exhibition! I'm an artist! In an exhibition I didn't like. Crap.

Anyway, what I would really like would be pictures of the backs of paintings next to the real thing, all the time in every museum. Not just as part of a "Well, what do you think this could mean" exhibit.