by Ivy Hendy
The changing world of art is changing once again. In ways that weren’t expected, the wonderful museums of the world have had to present their acquisitions through electronic venues while their buildings have been shut down or visitor numbers restricted. Electrically plugged in, the museums’ web sites have charged up and created sparks.
For me, a web visit to the world of art museums has uncovered art pieces that in the past I would have casually and gladly passed by. My resistance was to the unfamiliar. Unfair? Yes. But even more arbitrary was that somewhere hidden from my conscious mind was a tendency to compare unfamiliar works of art to the old masters. Outwardly, my excuses for walking by an unknown piece would range from tired feet, to hunger, to “no time to stop.” The unsaid secret was that I had an aversion to the art itself. These obstacles kept me from actually looking at many museum pieces.
But these personal barriers are not nearly as convincing, even to me, when sitting at home looking at the museum’s website and the work has just popped up on the screen. With feet propped up and a bag of Fritos by my side, it takes a new group of creative excuses to persuade myself to avoid a look. Though I tried, there really is not an easy way to stay aloof from the digitally presented works. At the end of the day, I put aside my antipathy and gave each art piece a more careful look. Viewing the artworks, I had previously passed by has now become a personal game. And here is ‘the rest of the story.’ Opening up my mind a crack has allowed admittance to other things. I am now able to look differently at subjects and territories I circumvented because of some hidden prejudice. The art that was propelled onto my screen through the electronic medium forced me to uncover some private, one-sided viewpoints. All of a sudden there isn’t just the newly discovered art in which to take pleasure, but many more things in the world to be pleased about.