Monday, November 12, 2007

Awarding Prizes for Art

I saw some great art during my trip to New York. In fact, New York being such an art city, I feel rewarded in full. Rewarded for an afternoon given away to diligent practice in a collegiate practice room. And rewarded for the reminder that great art need not be housed in a famous building, on a famous avenue, for a famous fee. I spent midweek in Princeton, working with Anne and, on a whim, I walked over to the Princeton University Art Museum. I skipped over a Warhol Brillo box and slipped past the stares of "historical people" in their awful gilded frames, making a beeline for Fazal Sheikh's exhibit of photographs. I am a weeper for the stark emotional yell of a beautiful black and white photo, whether scenic or a portrait. And here I was rewarded. The portraits are stunning and arranged in ways that make you think; the juxtaposition of images is sometimes fluid and sometimes thought provoking. But I also liked the still scenes, a tiny monkey on a stone wall, and also the hands. Sheikh studies hands as if they are birds (which, of course, you know they are) and birds as if they are the souls and reincarnations of women. The work is political, too, and yet that is simply a layer to, and not the reason for, the emotional impact of the exhibit.

So I award my New York prize for best art to Sheikh and the exhibit at Princeton. Kind of funny, eh?


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