Monday, November 28, 2011

Art Appreciation 101

The embassy is hosting an art fair in the atrium to give local artists an opportunity to exhibit and of course, profit from their work. There was a cocktail reception this evening as a launch event, which got things off to a pretty good start I think. Most of the embassy and a good chunk of the dipcorps were there, and by the end of the evening several purchases had been made. I had done some previewing on the sly while the artists were setting up and there was one painting I was taken with from the get-go. I was hesitant to buy it - it was one of the pricier pieces and wasn't a perfect match for my decor - but I kept coming back to it over and over. It looks like this:

Relatively early in the evening Gunny came over to make small talk, like you do, and asked me if I had seen anything I liked. I told him I really liked the big blue one, and he looked at me like I was a three-headed alien. See, Gunny had seen that one earlier too but completely didn't get it, so he dragged me over and had me explain what I saw in the painting: the unity of African women, each distinct but with the long dresses melding together into one. This pretty much blew his mind. As it turns out, when Gunny had looked at this painting the first time he had seen a giant furry unibrow. I told him that the great thing about art was that all interpretations are valid, but that wasn't enough for Gunny. For the rest of the evening he kept calling people over and asking them what they saw in the painting, like it was some kind of Rorschach test. We established that Gunny has a fairly unique perspective.

So after all that I bit the bullet and bought the painting. How could I not? It's lovely, and now it has a story too, which all art ought to have if it can help it.

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