A HOW TO post with a difference.
I've been wanting to put this post up for a long time but there's forever something else seemingly more urgent to post.
So today I'm taking a break from the Twitter series and putting up Arumina's post. And its realy saving me as I've been so busy i never got around to today's post.
Arumina I enjoyed this so much a laughed out LOUD. Literally.
Now, I am a conflicted person when it comes to art. Coflicted because I'm not sure I really get it. I mean fine, when it's something like a Raja Ravi Varma or the Khajuraho and Ajanta caves or something from the Renaissance, sure I can see the exquisite beauty of it, the finesse and amazing precision of each brush or chisel stroke and appreciate how much effort and skill must have gone behind the production of such a fine piece. But dangle something like this:
in front of me and I'm lost like an Inuit in Turkey holding driving instructions in Japanese.
Unfortunately however, in today's world of "contemporary" chic, you're not cool or even eligible for commenting on artwork unless you can come up with at-least five different perspectives on the sublimity and depth of something that looks like the aftermath of a chimpanzee's meal.
How to Survive an Art Exhibition (The Dummy's Guide)
Step 1: Dress to ShockSounds complex? It's really not. No, this does not mean you can leave modesty at the door. This simply means that if you don't want to stick out like a sore thumb-don't show up in jeans and a T-shirt. Unless of course, the T-shirt makes a statement. Anything to do with the world's thousand on-going crises is fine or anything which no one in the room will be able to understand. Japanese is in, by the way.
If you're not the casual type and can't really pull off the mysterious-suave-demure thing, or your friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife insists on taking you along but you have no clue what to wear, the second best option is something I like to call Dressing like an Artwork. Remember that neon top you bought at that sale and woke up the next morning asking yourself why? Or that jewelery your friends claim can solve the weapons crises of several small nations? Or the hat that your mom wanted to borrow to use as a lampshade? Well, this is where they all come in. Mix and match, baby. You'll fit right in, at-least with the radicals who claim no one gets them. They won't get you, so you're automatically cool.
Step 2: Attitude
Now, this depends on the clothes. If you're doing the jeans and Tshirt thing, regardless of gender, act like you don't give a damn in the world. That's why you're dressed like that at a formal do. Because you don't care what the superficial mortals around think of you. You're concerned with much larger issues like how you're going to sneak your scooter out before anyone in the group of snobs you're hanging out with sees it. Unless of course you can pull the apathetic thing to that extent, in which case they might mistake you for the artist.
The demure thing is the demure thing and suave I leave upto your best judgement. However, if you've followed my advice and dressed like an artwork, it gets tricky. You can do the treat-everyone-like-crap, I-hate-the-world, no-one-gets-me, but then you run the risk of going home alone and in case you're married, getting a divorce notice the next morning. So, here's the deal. Be nice. Smile a lot and DON'T TALK. Act preoccupied and when you see an artwork, like you're seeing things in it no one else can see. Try a small knowing smile to go with the whole. When someone asks you for your opinion or what you think the artist had in mind, give them that little smile, glance back at the painting with a small sigh, give your head a little shake and walk away. Do not, I repeat DO NOT open y.our mouth. They might think you nuts but at these things better crazy than "ignorant and uncultured." Oh, and try to avoid staying at one place for too long to prevent encounters of the afore-mentioned kind as much as possible.
Step 3: Know Thy ArtistSo you've got the clothes and you have the attitude. Now, artist. At the very least, find out his/her name. If you are going with someone you need to impress like your boss or a group of friends from office, google the name and read at-least three different pages, no more, no less. Find out basic style, family background, key low-points of his/her life, failures and you're set.
Boss: "Jitender, what do you think of that little bit there?"
You: "Well, sir. You see, the artist's dog got the flu when he was ten. I think this reflects the pain he must have felt seeing the poor thing sniffle its way around."
Boss: "Very sublime indeed. And that little bit there?"
You: "That's from when his cat ran away, sir."
Boss: "Amazing! You're promoted!"
Of course if you don't have any pressing needs to be cool and impressive and are just accompanying a friend or wandered in because there was still an hour's time to kill before your movie in the theater next door starts, read the name on the board and remember it. If someone asks you about the artist, here's your reply: "I am a naturalist. I think knowing about a person creates perceptions which can damage the flow of the natural essence of the work itself. I don't like interference with that flow, to contaminate it would be criminal. Artists are just the means, they don't matter. It's the work, which is right in front of you, then why bother about the vessel?" Say it like you mean it.
Step 4: Know thy LingoEssence, metamorphosis etc. etc. Learn them and use them. That's what the net's for. And then use your brain. Make up stuff, make it sound exotic. Also, talk to intelligent-looking people and try and get their take on it. Then, as soon as their back is turned, memorize it. Mix this with a bit of imaginative use of words and a little will take you a long way. Art is done by humans for humans and it's very likely that the people with you are equally, if not more lost than you are.
And finally, if you follow all this and don't get chased out with sticks or have your posters hung on gallery walls to warn against allowing you in, you have learned the art well. Cheers!
Written by: Arunima M @ Soul Kitchen 8