the literary life 1/17/10
Went to MOCA today in Los Angeles--the Museum of Contemporary Art. I will be doing reading there with the other 2009 PEN fellows soon, and our reading is meant to be a response to the art on display there. So my husband and I finally made it to the museum today and wandered through the galleries. There was everything from Jackson Pollock paintings to "impermanent" installations, such as the chocolate room, where an entire four wall space is covered in silkscreens painted with chocolate. There was a curious TV installation and even a room we had to enter with our shoes off because the floor was super white. Overall, we had a good time. At first I found myself resisting some of the more experimental pieces, and then my husband and I were sort of laughing in response to them. For instance, one piece was just a hanger wire undone (it's displayed in the image at the top with me standing right beside). How to make sense of work that really seems to be about...well...nothing? I guess bare pieces raise questions about perception, but I felt like it was fun to respond with some silliness. The thing is, I've never really seen an art gallery as a humorous space before. Today I realized that paintings, like poetry, can have wit. And it's okay to have a natural response. A museum need not be a stuffy quiet place for academic types. You can still appreciate art while being light at heart.