Greetings from Manhattan. I'm writing this entry on a borrowed Blackberry, so please excuse any glaring typos. It's day 5 of my family's East Coast vacation and we're sitting in Penn Station, waiting for the train back to Boston. It's running one and half hours behind schedule, perhaps due to increased security in the wake of the reported British foiling of a plot to smuggle liquid explosives onto planes.
The story was all over the news when we woke up this morning and I can only imagine that it brought an unwelcome tension to this city, in particular.
While eating dinner I overheard a mother at a nearby table, trying to
explain to her children why we now have to worry about shampoo bottles
and tubes of toothpaste on airplanes. I too struggle with the best
way to limit my daughter's exposure to the disturbing realization that
as much as I want to, ultimately, I cannot guarantee her safety.
It does seem as if the world has gone mad, so it was rather appropriate that we spent the morning at MoMA, viewing the big Dada exhibition. There were so many great pieces on display that I could have spent all day there. Here's one of my favorites from the show. Click on the image to view a flash page explaining some of the imagery.
Otto Dix Die Skatspieler (Kartenspielende Kriegskrüppel)
1920, Öl & Collage auf Leinwand, 110 x 87 cm
It was interesting to see how that particular group of artists reacted to the absurdity, the fear mongering, the propaganda and the devastating results of war. I never realized that so many of the Dadaists were politically inspired. Almost 100 years later and Dada is still relevant. I was also struck by the similarities between Dada and the LA punk scene, both in style and in spirit. One seldom thinks of the LA scene as political. Yet everything we do can be political, even if we don't realize it at the time. Being an angry woman of color and fronting a punk rock band in 1977 was not meant as a political statement but it subsequently turned out to be one. It's funny how sometimes the message we think we are sending turns out not to be the one that matters in the long run.
I guess I'm babbling again. Suffice it to say that this is a great show to see if you are at all interested in modern art.
On Wednesday afternoon, we were fortunate to catch a performance of the Broadway musical, Wicked. I loved it. It's completely enjoyable as a sort of alternative fairytale, but it also has some very relevant things to say about the world and society we live in. The first act climaxes with the witch, Elphaba, rejecting the values and limitations that her world, the Land of Oz, has thrust upon her and vowing to "Defy Gravity" as she rises above it all to take flight for the first time.
I thought of all the people I know who would love this production and I found myself wishing they could be in the audience with me to share the experience.
Yes, the world can be a scary and uncertain place but life goes on regardless and we can still choose how we wish to live it. We can make art to express ourselves, live our lives with hope and fight to change things for the better. We can choose to defy gravity.