Monday, June 9, 2008

Connecting the Old and the New

This past weekend, I traveled down to the McNay Art Museum in my home city of San Antonio to view the new exhibit that was open to visitors free of charge for two days. Surprisingly, considering my appreciation for art, I had never been to the McNay. For the most part, it contained what I expected, but what I did not foresee was the manner in which the old connected with the new. The McNay is a two part museum connecting an old mansion containing classical and cultural art with a new $50 million center full of modern and post modern painting and sculptures. The division was quite clear but did not feel forced. Somehow, it seemed proper that Auguste Rodin would be in the same facility as Jason Pollock, despite their obvious differences. While I tend to gravitate much more strongly to one than to the other, I understand that I, as the observer, cannot give standards that these artists must follow in order to fulfill my likings.
Life is the same. In life, I am mostly an observer. Yes, I can make decisions, and I believe free will often overrules Fate. Yet at the same time, a human being cannot determine the manner in which his or her life changes over time. As I prepare for college, I realize that I cannot choose the day it will begin or end. Although I may wish to turn back the clock on some things, and push it forward toward others, I realize that over this change, I have no control.
So, I see only one option for us "innocent by-standards" who are constantly tossed about by the sea and its winds of change. We must take life with a grain of salt. When I stood in a room filled with art that I found extremely difficult to appreciate, I found one piece that I enjoyed and focused on it. I noticed the other works, but I cannot tell you their details. On the other hand, that one painting that I found to be a complete masterpiece, I studied. I analyzed the artist's thought process and what the colors and shades could possibly represent. I relished in its beauty and in the skill of the artist's brush strokes. All this time, the other works of art attempted to distract me. To my right, a painting of squirrels invading a cottage; to my left a portrait of a man where the paint is bleeding down the canvas. Still, I stand and stare at the masterpiece in front of me. A ocean view of a horizon with a glare from the sun gleaming yellow, orange and blue in the layers of a sunset on the deep blue sea. A gold pocket watch hangs in the center of the painting, attached to a cord. This painting makes me realize once again that time is always an object. Time, even in the most peaceful of places, marches on. So savor it. Find that one piece of art in the midst of hundreds that captures your attention and don't take your eyes off of it. Though others distract you all around, do not be disturbed by their complex messages. Take the samples of life that you enjoy, and enjoy every minute you have with them. As the things of your old life fade and new changes arise, do not forsake either, but connect them in glorious harmony. By learning from the past, you will better understand the future. Learn to connect the old and the new, filling every moment with the things you love most, and you will surely find that your life is a musuem, holding all of the masterpieces of time, from beginning to end in a beautiful panorama of color and beauty.

1 comment:

nate said...

Just thought I'd say Hi!

I'm from SA. I love the McNay, though I wasn't aware of that exhibit. i love the kinetic sculpture in the fountain. Quite a favorite of all the kids who went with my art class.