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Yesterday I Almost Had An Art Attack

My interest in art was well and truly heisted

By Adam EvansonPublished 11 months ago Updated 11 months ago 5 min read
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Yesterday I Almost Had An Art Attack
Photo by FLY:D on Unsplash

It's a funny old world, some filth steals your expensive bike, Smart Phone or a few thousand dollars in cash, and a uniformed officer of the law does not have the slightest interest. It seems like it is all just too much effort. Not worth the paperwork.

Please see the other story I wrote and had published today on law and order entitled...

Somebody Stole My Life! Where is a Samurai Sword when you need one?

But take a relaxing, pleasant stroll around an art gallery, try to speak one decibel above an inaudible whisper and a whole army of uniformed security personnel will jump out of the shadows and leap upon you. They will then admonish you, threatening hell, fire and brimstone will rain down upon you if you do not shut the f@xk up.

And should you dare to unwittingly step over an almost invisible black line, on a dark carpet, so that you can actually read an information card, stuck on the wall to the left or right of the work of art it pertains to...I imagine instant execution is the order of the day.

Ok, I exaggerate a little, but that was how it felt yesterday when my lovely wife and I went on a gallery visit.

The gallery, or art museum as they seem to prefer to call themselves, is about one hour from where we live. The DIC Kawamura Memorial Art Museum in Kawamura, is set in the most beautiful thirty-hectare park, with a grand lake and an amazing restaurant. There is also a very impressive, enormous Henry Moor bronze sculpture at the bottom end of the park.

The Museum has an eclectic collection of about 1000 works of art, with Rembrandt, Monet, Renoir, Picasso, Hashimoto, Riley and Rothko, to name but a few, on show.

We have in the past made many visits to the park and one visit to the somewhat expensive, but delicious, restaurant. However, we always promised ourselves that one day we would buy a year's pass for the museum. That day, was yesterday.

Now, as a first-class graduate of art and design history, I do know Monet from Manet, as well as a whole raft of their contemporaries. The reason for that is that I specialised in the masters of the nineteenth century.

Even more to the point, I was personally tutored by none other than Mr Richard Kendal, a highly respected, world-leading authority on the subject. If a wealthy millionaire art collector ever wanted reassurance, that the Degas he was intending to purchase, was an authentic work of art, Richard (who only recently passed away somewhere in New York) was the man they would call upon.

It is a number of years since I last visited a museum or gallery with genuine, big-name, works of art. But I do still know all about museum etiquette. I am a long, long way from some snot-nosed school kid who does not know his arse from his elbow.

We showed our annual ticket and went into the first room. There we came across some 19th-century paintings by a variety of artists. Then I caught sight of a work of art in the Cubist style by Georges Braque. This man was a contemporary of Picasso and co-founder of the Cubist movement. Indeed, Braque and Picasso worked very closely together and inspired each other. They were like the Lennon and McCartney of nineteenth-century art. At times, when looking at their output, it can be difficult to tell one from the other.

In a very low voice, almost a whisper, I was trying to explain to my wife, who knows very little about art, how to fully appreciate a painting. You really have to see it up close.

For example, the Braque in question had a slight, shallow, impasto to it, which casts a very slight shadow and, as a result, has a soft element of three-dimensionality to it. That is not something you can see on a print in a book.

Suddenly a slender, diminutive security woman rushed over to admonish me for speaking and told me to be quiet. I was frustrated by this as I was trying to teach something to my wife, which she was very interested to hear.

I looked around and saw other, Japanese couples, chatting quietly. Perhaps being over six feet tall, heavily built and having a foreign accent, I stood out more. Anyway, my wife and I separated a little to resist the temptation to say anything, which my wife was not best pleased about, nor I for that matter.

On consulting the Museum's website, they do say that you can speak in a low voice. So I can only put it down to an overzealous execution of duty by the woman in question.

In another large room, we came across a more modern collection, with a stunning piece by UK artist, Bridget Riley, in pride of place. I said nothing to my wife about it. Further along the same wall I came across a few paintings I did not recognise. So I stepped a little closer, not to the painting, but to the small card to the right of the work of art, which gave a few pertinent details about the name of the artist, the title and the year of its creation. And even close up, I had to use my reading glasses.

Again, some diminutive security woman came running over to admonish me, pointing at a black line I had not seen due to failing eyesight and low-level lighting.

I was wearing a Covid mask, and the work of art in question had glass protection, so there was no possibility of any toxic spital overspray landing on the painting, which was to one side anyway. If they really want visitors to keep three feet away from the wall, they should print bigger information cards.

My wife came and tried to use her better eyes to tell me what was written, but then we were worried about being told to shut up again. At this point, I was so frustrated I just wanted to walk out in protest. These people were sucking all the joy out of the experience. They were actually disturbing the peace far more than we ever were.

Back to the point of speaking, I do know that the Museum runs classes for young people, and I can guarantee that will not be a quiet affair. More than that, art is not to simply be studied in complete silence, it is to be commented upon and discussed, for debate, the dissemination and furtherance of human knowledge.

I really do not know if I want to go again. Certainly, not if I am going to be accosted in the same manner. We'll see, or not.

Exhibition
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About the Creator

Adam Evanson

I Am...whatever you make of me.

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