About a month and a half ago, I correctly identified the artist of a painting posted on the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s Facebook page. I won myself a pair of free tickets to the MIA’s special exhibit, which was called Marks of Genius and showcased sketches and working pieces by master artists from all periods. I was interested in this exhibit anyway because I knew the exhibit would include the sort of loose gestural drawings that get me more excited than anything else. And plus, I’ve basically never won something like that for free so it was pretty exciting. But between moving and starting a new job, the closing of the exhibit REALLY snuck up on me. I had to go by myself (part of me wanted to go by myself the whole time…but when you get a pair of tickets and only want to use one, something feels wrong) because my boyfriend works every day of the week and I didn’t want to go with anyone else I wasn’t comfortable with, because I knew myself well enough to know that Marks of Genius would geek me the fuck out. When I realized, though, that this was the case, I felt pretty liberated. I was going to do something BY MYSELF again! FOR ME! On my OWN TIME! Aaaand then I woke up this morning feeling like CRAP. I work with (literally) snotty toddlers so I’m currently infected by at least a dozen strains of cold/cough. Morning and bedtime are definitely the worst times. And I’ve been taking Nyquil all week, which has meant super crazy vivid dreams that don’t quite leave me feeling incredibly restless. So this morning I woke up and didn’t think I had the will to get out of bed, even for the art museum. But I got myself more and more anxious thinking about NOT going and I knew I would permanently regret it if I let these free tickets and this exhibit slip through my fingers. So I was driven out of bed by anxiety and very faint determination. I got up and drove off to Minneapolis, appreciating my level of calm driving in Augsburg territory again. I nabbed myself a perfect parking place dead center to the front stairwell to the museum (which I didn’t even enter…something about going in those grandiose doors feels wrong).
In the exhibit, I shamelessly stopped for 5-10 minutes at a time to sketch works. It was everything I wanted to be: full of gestural drawings and intense, busy, wild ink drawings. I got ridiculously close to the paper (Asian paper is a category of paper…who knew) and stared at knuckles or spots of light in an eye for a very very long time. Other exhibit browsers were mostly college students or elderly people, which meant they were mindful and respectful about sharing viewing space. The exhibit was wide open and so quiet, like a sanctuary,
I compiled a gigantic ribbon of pages from my sketchbook because some of them were cool the way they translated from chalk/charcoal/graphite into my own sketchy style. It justifies the shit out of loving my own sketching because I loved the shit out of these sketches.
Going out to the museum today by myself was something like communion with myself to a depth I haven’t reached in a while. My connection to art, the way it opens me up, has been a rare constant in the makeup of who I am. I may have had fewer technical terms for it during high school, and too many technical terms for it in college, and too many that I’ve forgotten now, but I don’t need anything but what I’ve always had to fall in love with the sweep of a line or the contours of a face. I’ve become a different person in the year and a half since college – adulthood requires me to be different, and changes my feelings towards things. But wandering the MIA by myself always makes me know myself again. I’ve been trying to pour art back into my life since my new job and apartment, but the MIA fills me up till all the wonder of art spills out of me again.