The art of acquiring a taste for vegetables. . . and art

Developing a taste for art is like developing a taste for broccoli.  I used to receive weekly emails telling me about my baby’s stages of development.  One of those emails from the “experts” told me it can take babies up to 15 tries of one food before they acquire a taste for it.  Fifteen!  Fortunately, my youngest enjoyed lightly steamed broccoli on the first try.  She now grabs it off her sister’s plate.  In contrast, my taste for art has developed more along the “try it 15 times” method.

At one point I thought “good” art was art that portrayed something as realistically as possible.  I learned in Art 101 courtesy of my liberal arts education that it was not until the Renaissance that artists purposed to create realistic figures.  It was a huge breakthrough when artists moved from painting flat-faced, gold icons to people who actually resembled and had the proportions of real humans.  Ah, the amazing Renaissance.  We had to visit the Art Institute of Chicago for my art class.  I saw some incredible masterpieces, which encouraged me to make art museums and exhibits a priority on my travels.  A visit to the Rijks and Van Gogh museums in Amsterdam followed, as well as a walk through the Louvre and eventually the Belvedere in Vienna.  Exposure to more masterpieces – classic and modern – opened my eyes to the vast, diverse art world.

Last weekend I spent a brief bit of time at the Loveland Sculpture Show in Colorado.  I was quick to notice and appreciate the pieces intended to convey a sense of realism.  Can you look at this clown’s face and not think he’s about to turn his head, lock eyes with you and whimper in feigned clown sorrow?  Maybe his balloon just popped.

Then I was completely caught off guard by an angler fish.  You know, the kind of fish that lives in the dark depths of the ocean and tried to eat Nemo.  I couldn’t get over the minute details.  The way certain parts rusted orange and others were scratched to a shine.  The flatware used to make the teeth.  The cast-offs from some obsolete piece of farm equipment acquired in America’s agricultural heartland.

Here’s the complete fish, with credit to the artist. Of all the works at the show, his was the only one where I made the effort to find the artist and thank him for creating an amazing piece.

Who would of thought after sampling art like vegetables for fifteen years I would be drawn to “assemblage” art? I’ll keep putting vegetables and art in front of my kids and hopefully they’ll develop a taste for both (preferably in less than fifteen tries).

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