One thing that sometimes happens when you come back from traveling is that you look at your home with a tourist’s eye. The thing that’s new in our neighborhood is an art exhibition, specifically sculpture, in our local (Invalidovna) park.
We saw two sculpture parks while traveling. One in Des Moines, which was part of the newly revitalized downtown, and one in Indianapolis, which was featured in the book “The Fault in Our Stars,” by John Greene. So, I got to compare it to the other two. There is one difference, which is that the exhibit here is temporary, and I am grateful for that.
All of the parks contained some lame statuary, and in Des Moines and Indianapolis, my reaction was “Nice park, and I like the overall concept of art in the park, but I don’t really ‘get’ all of the statues.” In Prague, I am very familiar with the park, and know for a fact that it looks much nicer without all that crap in the middle of the lawn.
It could be I am just a philistine, an uncultured clod. I don’t think so, but I am not the one who defines those sorts of things. If I am, so be it, but I like statues to be statues OF something. Not a plain slab of granite, with a few right angle cuts, and a radiator attached to it. Not an oversized metal birdcage, but not really a birdcage, heavier and uglier than that, just the same shape. Not a bunch of satellite dishes standing together, which looked like what you might find in the parking lot of a defunct satellite dish company.
Same with paintings, I like them to be paintings OF something. Same with poetry, I want there to be a point and I want it to be clear.
“But, it’s supposed to make you think,” people more cultured than I might say. I don’t need to be made to think. Thinking is what we do all the time. It’s like breathing. That’s why we need to employ meditation, so we can stop with the thinking all the time.
When I read a poem, or see a painting or a statue, of course it makes me think. When I see dog poop on the sidewalk, it makes me think.
The question is, does it make me think about the subject of the artwork, or does it make me think “Oh, for Christ’s sake, this is garbage, how did somebody actually convince somebody that this is a work of art?”
I think about it, but I don’t have an answer.