My mom is elderly and at times my mom is “bored.” Of course, there are lots of fun things to do but my mom at times has specific ideas in mind to not be bored. It appears that my mom is at times bored while watching TV. At times my mom says, “I would like to go to the Seattle Art Museum,” or something similar.
About 9 months ago a person or persons wrote and printed up some item making negative suggestions about me on printed paper and another several went to my website and posted negative or discouraging comments re my mental health, or, other similar things, such as, david is dangerous, ha, ha.
Anyway, today, mom and I do an errand and we are done at 12 or 12:30 and we are near the Seattle Art Museum. I suggest we go and mom agrees. It also, by happy luck, turns out that the First Thursday of the month, each month, is free admission, which lifts a very great burden from my mind, given the following:
Although art appreciation is good for your mental health, usually, visiting the Seattle Art Museum is an assault on normalcy, rationality and beauty.
Mom and I walk up and get our free tickets. We ascend the stairs or escalator.
In our first room or area or gallery, it says “Portraits.” Pretty good, right?
There are these “portraits” and none of them but one is a realistic portrait. The realistic portrait is of Elvis Presley with a handgun. The rest of the portraits are not realistic. The paragraph explaining the gallery says that this area, for now, is promoting “portraits” of people of color, but they don’t have actual normal portraits–they have distortions. None of the portraits seems to portray a person as beautiful, fun, interesting or strong or moving, with the exception of a cloudy clumpy ballerina.
The portraits are done in paint and the painters did not do realism and did not do beauty, intrigue or pinups.
One portrait is of a woman, a black woman, we presume, getting out of or into a shower. Except, the curtain of the shower covers the presumed woman in such a way that there is no telling if she is a man or a woman and any gender indicating items and a gender specific figure is seemingly absent and any shape or actions associated with beauty other than being in a shower are absent. Gil Elvgren this is not.
Is this the new way to paint a woman in the shower or a bath? You know, the old 18th century way is bad and Gil Elvgren was white and so . . .
We move on to the next rooms or area, which is called modern and contemporary. There is a painting which has no telling what it is other than a patch of puddles and lines in red, brown and black. Another painting is all black with two white lines forming an X, meaning both, it says, cancellation, and . . . Malcolm X!
There is a video on the wall showing a woman creating a painting by putting paint on a canvas and then dragging the painting over gravel to smudge the paint randomly.
There is a section of non-paintings which are a collage. Some person or persons managed to create modern art by cutting one colored paper into the shape of a letter and setting it on a background of a different color. For example, there was a yellow “I” set on a green background. I think some second graders do this stuff, or at least, some of the kids see letters cut out decorating the school room. Some similar items were not of a letter, but a shape such as a square or circle, set in the background of a different color, created by using 2 or 3 different colored pieces of paper.
People create this stuff and then the Seattle art museum buys or displays it. People pay $20 a ticket per day and see this. Once in a while kids on the bus come on a field trip to see this.
Was there a room for realism or for women or for beauty? There is a woman in a shower . . . OK. How about some pinups? But no . . .
And, we also have on item in the SAM that consists of barbed wire used as a barrier for trench warfare or to keep two angry nations apart. Yes, here we have the 2nd example or first example of realism . . . the realistic portrayal of a barbed wire deadly barrier to soldiers or escapees.
Within these first 2 or 3 areas, the 3 examples of realistic art consisted of Elvis with a gun, barbed wire, and a large mouse. None of the examples of realistic art were simultaneously meant to be pretty or beautiful, or convey a positive meaning other than that, the caption of the photo of Elvis with a revolver indicates he is/was a sex symbol, including a sex symbol to gay men. One “portrait” is of a scene or setting that pinup artists have commonly used, but the painting is smudged, unclear, sexless and unpretty and unrevealing . . . Maybe it is an anti-pinup.
No one bought copies of that to put on their calendars.
People pay to see this. Where is the good stuff? Why not have some good stuff in the front and the weird stuff in the back or at the end and unseen by those who leave early?
We almost paid money to see some barbed wire, the letter “I” in yellow, Elvis with a revolver and a sexless black person behind shower curtain.
This is like the diary of James Holmes the Denver madman, who wrote, “Why? Why? Why? “
And 5% or some fraction of Mercer Island thinks I am mentally ill or unstable. Oh, boy.