Girlfriend in Tacoma

Jun. 15, 2008 at 3:40pm

critiquing a critique

(feeling softly indignant)

I might have mentioned my art run around the MoG, the first time I did it.  It was a nasty little (yes, little, I think it clocked in at about 2 miles) hilly/steppy run, but notable for the pieces of art and city that I saw on the round trip from the Urban Grace Church to the MoG and back.  I did the run again, and was arrested by the Murrelets that had just been installed.  The Rossano exhibit in the middle pool is subtle but beautiful; a flock of metallic glass birds flies away while a smaller group rests.  Beside the pool sit "stumps" to reflect on the image.

Flipping through today's Trib to read my horoscope (about the only thing I've been feeling has been appreciably meaningful to me about that paper these days) I saw a small Ponnekanti piece about the installation.  A couple of her reflections felt kind of shallow to me.

She mentions the murrelets form a "sleekly diving" arrow, and then mentions the birds as a group landing on, or rising from the water (though not diving.)  She mentions the (uncomfortable)  cylindrical fiberglass  seats, and she mentions the scale of the group-- small, viewed from above, eye-level, and below.  I have to wonder if maybe she might have reflected a little harder?

During last week's art-run, I stopped for about three minutes, mid-run, to peruse the installation, I was arrested by the motion of the birds.  The appeared, to me, to be flying away.  True, the pool seemed large, and almost empty, and I wondered if that was all?  And then I looked at the birds from more angles, moving on in my run. 

It was the side angle, from the pool's level, where I had my a ha! moment-- there were, in fact, about eight birds left behind, looking contented. looking at the flock flying away, I saw the top of a question mark.  The birds left behind stood out as the period. Where were they going? What next? what about the ones left behind?   --I thought about the group as a whole, already small given the scale of the pool.  I thought about the contended gaggle left behind.

It was an uncomfortable thought, actually, especially for someone (me) who never really had heard of a marbled murrelet.  Looking up info, I discovered that the marbled murrelet is an endangered seabird nesting in old-growth forests, hence the symbolism of the "charred stumps" the cylindrical seats are meant to represent. I'd be a little skeptical, I think, of comfortable stumps.  And then,  let's say the artists chose to fill the pool with the birds-- is a pool of birds significant to anything? Apropos of endangerment?  --Or, let's say the artist distorted the scale of a single bird.  Would that have the same impact?

I don't have anything against the thoughts of critics, emotional impressions critics are left with, and being that I've had my share of critics and know how being criticised feels, I can't ever fully avail myself to offering up completely scathing commentary.  I just know that in this case, after reading Ponnekanti's article, I wanted to give her a quick call, psssst, you might want to revisit that pool, and offer up a retraction; you might want to look at more than one angle, there.

Instead, I think I'll just blog my own thoughts about it.

comments [2]  |  posted under Joseph Rossano's "Mirrored Murrelets", Museum of Glass, Tacoma


by jenyum on 6/15/2008 @ 9:31pm
I would not want to be the art blogger.

I also just read that Bill Hutchens will be contributing? And no more Gamers Journal. Interesting choices... We'll miss Gamers Journal and his reporting on local gaming trends. Hard enough to be in the local gaming industry without the little press devoted to it pulling up stakes and migrating to unrelated topics. I suppose it's just not serious enough.

But you make me want to go down there right now and take a look at the Mirrored Murrelets and clear my head a little.

by jcbetty on 6/16/2008 @ 9:29am
heh. That's a good point (pulling up stakes and migrating) --yeah, I guess arts are more interesting than gamers (they decide this just as I get a Wii? Whatever...)


musing her way through arts, culture, dining, shopping, exercising, and parenting, all while wearing a pungent, truffle-like aroma.

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