Saturday, February 16, 2013

Culture Yourself

To be a well-rounded individual, I think it's a good idea to culture yourself. At college, this was very easy because we had our own art museum on campus and concert tickets were $5 for students; of course all of these activities were well within walking distance, too. However, things can be just as simple out in the "real world" if you know where to look, especially if you're living in a city. This afternoon my roommate and I wandered the halls of the National Portrait Gallery and the American Art Museum, both of which are under the Smithsonian umbrella and are therefore free. I always love art museums, probably because I am fascinated by how talented all these artists are and how I was born without such skills. Or it could simply be the fact that I can appreciate anything beautiful, and paintings and sculptures certainly are that.

There were a couple pieces I saw today that I absolutely fell in love with.They all happen to have women in them, just by coincidence, but I think this is because 1. I just think the female form is prettier than that of men and 2. I have fantasized about having my own portrait done since seeing How to Make an American Quilt, Titanic, and As Good As It Gets (so all my artist friends: don't be shocked when I commission you one day to draw/paint/sculpt/photograph me [naked]).

 "The South Ledges: Appledore" by Childe Hassam drew my eye because it looks JUST like a Monet, one of my favorite artists. "The Libyan Sibyl" by William Wetmore Story at first just looks like yet another marble sculpture of a half-naked woman (clothes back then clearly never fit properly). But the detail in her hair and necklace amazed me, and anyone who can make stone look like soft flesh is pretty awesome. "The Mirror" by Robert Reid has such wonderful texture and color to it; plus, in my grown-up dreams I have a room with an Asian screen in it where I can get changed and look at myself in the mirror and get pretty, and this piece epitomizes that fantasy.

I also appreciate music. I was able to get tickets to see the National Symphony Orchestra perform at the Kennedy Center three times for $33 ($11 a ticket! Not quite as cheap as at school, but that's still an amazing deal!). I haven't gone to any of the shows yet, but buying the tickets is half the battle in making oneself more cultured. I will also be going with a friend who used to play piano and sing in the Chamber Singers group at school, so she can help teach me little nuggets while we watch. It's always more fun to appreciate art (in any form) when you're with someone else, even if it's just to share your perspectives and observations with one another. So the next time you're bored on a weekend afternoon, grab a friend and hit up a museum or a show! I guarantee you'll learn something, and a good dose of art can completely turn a worthless, lazy day into an accomplished one.

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