26, May, 2012

Does Life Imitate Art? Or Is It the Other Way Around?

img0927img0926Because I’ve been stressed out and feeling overwhelmed lately, I treated myself to a walk in beauty today! And guess what? It worked! Instead of booking an appointment with a therapist — something I’m not knocking, by the way, since I’ve benefited tremendously from therapy — I visited the Indianapolis Museum of Art, a gorgeous place set on 152+ acres of wooded land near the city’s center.

First of all, I was bowled over by the fact they don’t charge admission. I didn’t have a lot of time, so I concentrated on two of the exhibits. One was called, “Fluid State,” by Alyson Shotz, an artist with a love of physics and science. Her glittering, flashing animated work reminded me of chrome, hematite, sea spray and starlight all rolled into one. http://www.imamuseum.org/exhibition/alyson-shotz-fluid-state

Then, slack-jawed from viewing Alyson’s stuff, I climbed the stairs to the second floor, where I helped myself to a hearty slice of the “European Art” exhibit. I saw all my fine-art-fantasy-men: Van Gogh, Gaugin, Cezanne, Monet and Hieronymus Bosch — man, I love that guy! — http://www.hieronymus-bosch.org/

Between the beauty of the grounds, complete with meditation paths — and the stunning exhibits inside, my angst cooled down and I found myself refreshed, inspired and renewed. Art is a healing force, a life-affirming process and presence. I believe that art must be essential to human existence. As living beings, we possess the drive — the need to appreciate, make, discover, and share art, in one form or another. From neolithic cave paintings to urban graffiti, art walks hand in hand with imagination, inspiration and innovation.

These are all pretty lofty thoughts for somebody who’s been maxing out on stress and trying to bury self-doubt in ridiculous ways. (Like watching old episodes of the mid-2000s series, “Lost,” on demand on cable — yes, I actually watched an entire season! I never watched that show back when it was on, thought it was a reality show. Do they ever get off that f___g island??)

Yes, I am embarrassed about the overdose of television, but not ashamed. Shame is counterproductive for me, it’s a negative emotion I can do without. Embarrassment is productive for me, in small doses. It’s a reality check, and it keeps me from completely letting go and turning my brain and body to mush. Avid exercise, voracious reading, and a healthy diet are things I am embarrassed not to engage in! Or maybe it’s pride — but isn’t embarrassment simply a mildly wounded pride?

If you’re feeling stressed out, discouraged, overwhelmed or just plain tired, try going to an art museum. It’s a quick pick-me-up, a consciousness-expanding shot in the arm. Hey, does life imitate art, or does art imitate life? Who cares? I’m going to the African and Oceanic exhibit tomorrow, on the third floor!

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