Sunday, January 22, 2006

Alice in Wonderland

I'm visiting a friend in Pennsylvania and we went to a jazz concert given in the local art museum. A perfect venue for the saxophone/accordion duo that plays tonight. The museum staff has put chairs in the room but I find it much nicer to walk around and look at the art while enjoying the music. One piece catches my attention. It shows what seems to be a complete blue canvas with sheets of paper coming out from underneath.
A closer inspection reveals that the artist has glued the entire book of "Alice in Wonderland" page by page. The pages are arranged in a 20x8 rectangle and only part of the pages on the edges is visible. The rest, the large majority of the pages, is hidden from view under a thick blue paint.
As I look at it a bit puzzled, a family comes by. The mother is talking to her kid (both have striking long, blond hair) and from time to time kisses him on the head. He must be around 10 but makes no attempt to avoid the public display of her love. The father strolls by and disappears in a closeby exhibit hall.
The kid has noticed the painting too and he too looks at it a bit puzzled. As the music surrounds us, there is very little talk but I see a docent approaches him and pointing out where to look. I follow her lead too and sure enough, can distinguish the lines of a drawing of Alice, a thin darker blue line almost invisible on this blue canvas.
I hear the kid saying "I see it!" and he turns proudly to his mother with a huge smile. She smiles back. The kid look back at the painting. Modern art is not that obscure after all.


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