Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012...10:00 pm

Don’t underestimate yourself!

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It was the twenty-seventh of August, and I was excited to go to my first Macaulay Event – Night at the Museum at the Brooklyn Museum.  The Brooklyn Museum just happens to be one of my favorite museums due to its variety – art, artifacts, and great temporary exhibits.  I visit the feminist wing every time I stop by – Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party is so interesting to look at and I love learning about history’s strong women!  So, of course I was excited for this event.

The assignment for our visit was to talk about the artwork in an intellectual manner.  For me, there’s no difficulty in talking about artwork.  It comes naturally to me.  However, many of my fellow “Macaulians” were very nervous about this assignment.  They felt insecure.  My group-mates thought I was a genius, as I talked about Hellenistic-esque drapery and the symbolism of the color white.  But little did they know, my group-mates themselves made several comments that far exceeded my perceived genius.

I was really blown away while admiring Abbott Handerson Thayer’s My Children in the American wing.  As a group, but I was mostly influenced by the others’ ideas, we decided that the painting was representing Mother Nature and Adam and Eve.  From this assumption, I offered some feedback about Thayer’s style (brushstrokes) and possible symbolism – are the brushstrokes of Mother Nature’s hands more visibly sparse because mankind is killing the natural world through industrialization?  One of the other members of the group suggested that the children (believed to be Adam and Eve) were in a darker shadow because of sin and evil, as they no longer took care of their earth.

I was heartbroken when someone looked at the curator’s description of the piece.  I was so proud of everyone, that they had come up with such a valid assumption of the story behind the painting, and they now felt as if they were wrong.  The beauty of art is that the viewer is never wrong.  What you see, is what you see, and no one else can change that.  Even though many of the Macaulay students may have found the exercise tedious, I think that it must have sparked some self-confidence.

Yes, I plan on majoring in History and Art History and becoming a museum curator.  So, yes, I do have more of a desire to talk about and look at art.  But that doesn’t make my comments and my suggestions any more valid than that of a 10 year old.  Everyone one can be taught something new, and everyone can be a teacher.  So don’t doubt yourself!



Marina B. Nebro

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