Digital artist, writer, photographer, armchair philosopher. Loves: animals, nature, sustainability, nonduality, physics, multiverse theory, photons.

Is This What Art Is About?

Yesterday I went with Patricia to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Perhaps I was expecting something similar to the Terra Collection of American Art in Chicago, which I have always enjoyed. But this was quite different. The Whitney is a beautifully constructed space for the art it holds, with large and small galleries, several floors of outside terraces for large sculptural pieces, and big windows with strategic views of the city. I was entranced by its blending of inside and outside.

Reflected cityscape in a walk-thru glass sculpture.

The current exhibits were in part an exploration of what it means to be black in America. Black and white artists worked together in shared studio space to comprehend and portray and share a mid-20th century American experience of emerging from apartheid, a dawning civil rights movement, the struggle for equality, recognition, policing, ethnic identity, and related ideas.

In the midst of it I experienced a growing mix of emotions that defied easy identification.

Cameron Rowland, Life and Property, 2021

It came to a head as I stood before a wall-sized video space, watching slo-mo drone footage exploring feng shui in architecture.

I could feel love, sorrow, pain, joy, anger, shame, gratitude, indignation, wonder, and more, rising in my heart all together, all at once. I struggled then to hold back tears. I struggle now, just trying to describe this. It wasn’t bad, actually, but surprising.

Georgia O’Keeffe, Music, Pink and Blue No. 2, 1918

Maybe this is what art is all about. Maybe this precious, fleeting, shared brokenness and grace is where we find – surprise! – the sense of our oneness with all of humanity.

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