Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Do Not Touch

Over the weekend, I went to an art museum for the first time in a good eight years.  It's been a big eight years apparently because I have a developed reverence for art.  Everything in the museum was beautiful and fascinating and I wanted to know everything about everything, everrr.  I was proud to point out uses of tenebrism, chiaroscuro, linear perspective, monumentalism, and so on.

Naturally I didn't go by myself.  I begged my dad to take me dragged my dad along and it was quite an adventure.  He and I feigned our way through pretentious attempts at scholarly debate and discussion of certain works.  We actually impressed each other with our imagined knowledge.  I could tell that even though we were pretending like it was boring, we were having a great time.

But there was one thing that I did not enjoy: my father's proximity to works of art.

Be it a hollow 4-foot Korean ceramic sculpture or a bust of George Washington, my dad felt free to gesticulate animatedly around sculptures and just barely avoid scratching the paintings.  I nearly had a heart attack every single time.  But he never faltered.  No security guards seemed concerned.  No alarms went off.  Other patrons did not seem to take notice.  My dad totally got away with exchangin' electrons with one-of-a-kind works of art.

Why? Have I been wrong in thinking that squinting from four or five feet away yields a reasonably close-up view of a work of art?  In his more experienced age, does my father have a better grip on the volume he takes up in space? Is he just confident in his movements?  Or does he have no art bubble and just thinks that that's okay?  Cuz it wasn't okay with me.  Maybe he interpreted my mild panic attacks as an attempt at hilarity, if he noticed them at all.

Yknowww, I could probably ask him about all this.  But I probably won't.  If you're reading this dad, hello, and please help me understand your ways of a graceful bull in a very fine china shop.

1 comment:

  1. As a chronic 'toucher' art museums are awful for me. If the sign says, "Do Not Touch," its like having Tourettes, I just want/have to feel the forbidden item. Luckily I can contain myself, but only by stuffing my hands in my pockets. There is a brass donkey at the DIA that I caressed, because it is ok to do it. He's so shiney, because folks like me have released their built up tactile energy on him :)