Teaching Drama

Sometimes a wheelbarrow full of popcorn…

This week during our Chicago trip we visited the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art. It was an….. interesting experience, and both Craig and I had similar reactions to many of the pieces.

We felt that it was impossible to form an opinion on a piece without reading the description of the piece. Add to that, there was almost always a complete division between the grant speak in the description and the art itself.

For those of you who don’t know (and trust me when I say you will live a full and happy life if you’ve never been exposed to this gobbledegook) grant speak uses words like:

  • aesthetic.
  • juxtaposition.
  • challenges relationships.
  • what consumer habits reveal….
  • visual perception.
  • transformation
  • transcends.
  • ritual.

And so on. So you look at a wheelbarrow full of popcorn and you see a wheelbarrow full of popcorn and you read the description of this ‘art’ and get a headache because you’re not seeing how the popcorn is transcending simple materials into a richly poetic blah blah blah.

Now, granted – I don’t have a background in studying art. It’s not my milieu. It could be argued that since I don’t know what I’m talking about I have no business criticizing a wheelbarrow full of popcorn.

Having said that, I’m not afraid of art that makes me think. I like being involved. I like art with depth that’s off the beaten path. So here’s the question:

What’s the difference between art (or theatre or music) that makes you think and art you have to think to get? Should art come with a explanation? Should we have to think in grand terms to get art? If the grand terms of the description doesn’t in any way match the actual art, who is at fault – the observer or the creator?

Ok, that’s many questions. Lots to chew on. What are your thoughts?

About the author

Lindsay Price