Sunday, January 2, 2011


I'm really behind in posts, but I'm just going to dive in and type as fast as my fingers will carry me after a day on my piano. I have my radio on and everything that could distract me has been exhausted, so here goes. Hopefully this is the last extremely last-minute homework I ever do.

What seems like a long time ago, we visited the Midway Contemporary Art gallery. Walking in, I didn't expect much and didn't see much at first. I had little opinion of contemporary art before coming to CVA, and next to no knowledge of it. When looking at a piece while in junior, senior high school or as an elementary ed major, I saw a mess of something uninteresting. I knew I didn't understand it, but I made the mistake of judging contemporary art as a whole. I didn't like it, and that's all I cared to bother with anything that wasn't pretty. Sure, there was that sneaking suspicion that there's more to it, but it didn't matter at the time.

So I followed my classmates and looked around. There was a platform. Ok. Two tall columns... Two screens, and noise. That bored me already. And did it have to be so dark? I tsk'd inside my head.

I focused more on my classmates' reactions instead; I'm easily amused by social interaction and the way people act, so when nothing else interests me, I stand back and watch what happens. It's lucky for my sliver of an opinion of contemporary art that I did. They were walking everywhere and all over the platform, talking about each bit and why it was created. I realized how inquisitive some were about this boring assembly of industrial parts, something I previously wanted nothing to do with. That made me curious, too, and I saw the puzzle that contemporary art can be. Challenge accepted.

At first glance, the art showed a couple things. Because the museum was so small, we were confined to one room and forced to look, truly inspect, every aspect of the art. I was forced to understand it, even if it couldn't come right away. Contemporary art showed itself to be a type of art that doesn't have to be pretty. It's more conceptual than anything else, and didn't I appreciate conceptual art with my love of photography already? The more we searched for an answer, the more pieces of the puzzle we found and it got more challenging. Another piece was discovered and it threw off everyone's theories. Starting over, we'd excitedly offer ideas that the artist was trying to convey. In the end, no one guessed "correctly," but it's the process of forcing oneself to see the art and using the viewer's perspective and own creativity to understand it more than what it appears to be at first glance. Contemporary art makes you think. It pulls you in and says, "get out of your stupid, pretty little bubble and think about something different for once." Well, ok. It's actually really fun.

Ashley Overholser

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